In life, there is a time for everything. We’ve all heard the scripture verse telling us that is true…
A time to be born and a time to die… A time to weep and a time to laugh… A time to mourn and time to dance…
And never have these sentences been more true than now. Right now. This time in our lives. Now is when we start losing those we love. We are the sandwich generation. We are caring for our aging parents and raising our kiddos. We are seeing parts of both of these generations leaving us. Parents are beginning to pass away. Children whose lives have been cut short are leaving us too. It’s time for periods of mourning to come to us.
We, our whole family, just came home from the funeral of a special child.
It’s not what any parent ever wants, to have to bury their babies. The monsignor giving the mass even said so himself. It’s not right. It’s not fair. Parents should be able to see their children through all phases of their children’s lives. But sometimes it’s not the way life happens. And it’s sad and tragic and we grieve. Monsignor said no one ever truly gets over the loss of a child.
In saying all of this and preparing for the funeral, I thought back on my 39th year. It’s not that it wasn’t a good year for me, it was a miserable year for me. I spent the entire year pissed off and depressed. I knew my 40th birthday was just around the corner. I didn’t want to turn 40 with a passion and a fury I didn’t know I had. I didn’t want that clock ticking onward. Stan was the receiver of most of my wrath and had to deal with my depressing attitude. He had no idea why I spent my 39th year in a pissed off funk. He just knew I wasn’t the same anymore. He knew the smile was gone and the anger was there. He knew the lighthearted bantering was gone. It was replaced by frowns and sullenness. It was a hard year for him. He spent the entire time wondering what happened and why. Until finally one day he said these words to me, “I don’t know what’s going on with you. I don’t know why you are so depressed. We have it good. Our life is good. We have three great, healthy kids. We have a great family and wonderful friends. We have it good right now. It may not always be like this. Our life might not always be this good. And I worry that if something really bad happens you won’t be able to handle it.”
I let his words roll over me. I let them sink in. And I remember them with a greater clarity than I remember most things. I needed those words. They were the exact thing I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear them. And they were all true.
Life was, and still is, good in our snapshot of a minute, but it might not always be good. I needed to relearn to cherish the little things in life. I needed to relearn to submit to joy and live life with grace.
To this day, I don’t know why I let the thought of turning 40 ruin my 39th year. Maybe I needed to have a rough spot to realize how good life really is. Maybe I needed to provoke Stan to impart his words of wisdom. Whatever the reason, I’ve kept hold of those words and carried them with me. On days like today I break them out. On days like today, I take those words and let the grief roll over me, feel it and then try to focus on the good.
Monsignor said today, “Death is never expected, but it’s a part of life. When it’s a child, it’s that much more unexpected. But we need to celebrate the life of the child we have to say good-bye to.”
Today, I took the words Stan said to me so many years ago and combined them with Monsignor’s message of celebrating life. We have to hold on to all of the special times and the memories of those we cherish on earth. We have to remember the times when it wasn’t a time to mourn, but it was a time to dance. We have to focus on the good times and know that the bad times won’t always be like this. We have to focus on the time to laugh .
In life there is a time for everything. And today my children saw a time to mourn, a time to die and a time to weep. I want them to know about those times, but I want them to hold on tightly to Stan’s words, and Monsignor’s message, and use them when times get difficult. I want them to use those words in every instance of life having a time for everything.
Oh, for the love of my children…