Five Years06 March 2015
There was a school outing this week where the kids ended up entertaining themselves and a group of moms sat down and started chatting. The conversation came around to a local tragedy of the death of a one-year old boy.
‘Losing a child, wow, I just don’t know how you can possibly survive that’ said one of the moms.
We moved areas a few months ago and the girls have started at a new school and so not many people here know our history. Sometimes when conversations like this come up I just listen but this time I shared our story and each time I share it I can’t really believe that this has been a script in our lives. Perhaps it’s the fact that the anniversary of Jude’s death is looming once again and on my mind so much. With the darkening mornings and falling leaves, this time of year is always a reminder for us of our changed reality and that your little world as you know it can change in an instant. Has it really been five years since we have survived the unsurvivable?
This week huge fires have been blazing around Cape Town and although we haven't had to evacuate our home and have been fortunate not to have our home damaged or burned like some others, we have seen the flames on the mountain from our back garden and imagined having to grab a few things and just go. Yes, it would be a huge inconvenience to lose our home and possessions but at the end of the day none of our ‘stuff’ really matters. Possessions can be replaced; lives and health not so much. The morning that we found Jude, we said we would walk away from everything we owned if we could just have our baby boy back.
The mornings are initially my worst and then my favourite time of the day. I always wake up with a sense of panic that someone is not going to wake up and when they do, everyone is sleepy and not yet nagging and I am filled with a huge sense of gratitude that we are all around for another day together. We will always have the constant reminder that everything can change in an instant as it does for so many people constantly around the world. There are many many people out there who are surviving the unsurvivable in their own way all around us, limping along with an invisible amputation of death or diagnosis.
On that day five years ago, I remember numbly saying that I didn't know how I was going to make it through life without becoming completely bitter and awful to be around. My husband and children will attest to the fact that I am sometimes very awful, but how can I be bitter with everything that I have been given? I am so grateful to have been given so much love and exposed to much beauty in the past few years.
A few weekends ago we visited Elim, a little town 2 hours from Cape Town that we visited with Jude when he was nearly a year old. We went back to the spot that we went with him and tried to get the girls to stand still to take a similar kind of photo. When we stood there with Jude, we certainly did not think that we would be back six years later without him on the earth and with two other children.
Today I am grateful for our lives as they are and the gift of perspective. For our home that is still here in it's need of extreme renovation, for our health, for this little family of ours that can drive me to madness and that I adore so much. It can all change in an instant.