Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sad and Happy

I have been sad.  Hearing about what happened to the little children and their teachers in Connecticut filled me with sorrow.  The uncontrollably crying kind.  I haven't felt that much grief since my baby Gwendolyn was stillborn.  It was tough.  I kept saying to myself, "I have all of this empathy for those parents.  To what purpose?  What can I do with it to make it useful?  How can this grief be to the benefit of those who truly have cause to mourn?"  I'm still thinking about that question.

Interestingly, last week (or maybe the week before) I saw a Frontline on PBS about a mortuary. I think it was called "The Business of Dying" or something like that.  The mortician who was the main person they interviewed had some insights into how our culture deals with death that I thought were worthwhile.  He talked about how we are so removed from death the old days death was so much more hands on.  People weren't swept away in a black car never to be seen again until they were pristine and dressed in their finest laid out for burial.  Loved ones dealt with the dead from the moment it happened until the last shovel full of dirt was tamped into place.  Death really is a part of life.  None of us can avoid it.  But it seems like our whole culture today is built upon just that principal - to avoid death in any way.  I do believe that grieving would be easier if we all weren't working so hard to pretend that death isn't out there, or doesn't affect us, or isn't something that we should let ourselves think about. 

  So, I have thought about death, and naturally that means I have also thought about life.  Specifically the life each of my children are living right now.  They are each having such a unique experience in life, and sometimes I try to imagine what it is like for them.  How is it to have me for a mother?  What are their days like when I'm not with them?  What do they think about in their quiet moments?  I love talking to them and coming to understand little pieces of the answers to these questions.  Ultimately, it is their lives that are the most interesting thing about my own.  How could you not want to happily go through life with these faces?