TMBT: Remember When?

Remember when the worst thing happening in your life was being grounded?  Remember when a bad day meant the person you really liked didn't call when you got home from school?  Remember when an earthquake was just an earthquake, the news was just the news, and homework was the hardest thing you'd ever done?

I remember.  I remember thinking that since the boy I liked didn't like me, life was terrible.  I remember thinking, a few years later, that being grounded from seeing my boyfriend until my grades got better meant I had it worse than anyone else on the planet.  I remember worrying about friends talking behind my back and wanting everyone to like me.  

Then I became an adult, and suddenly, loss of family members, September 11th, tsunamis and earthquakes were worse than all of that stuff put together.  The disasters and sadness put everything in perspective without a moment's notice.  Oh, to be a kid again.  To have someone take care of you, buy what you need when you need it, tell you to appreciate what you have.

The past week or so we've had to deal with more loss on a personal level than we've had to for nine years.  Losing people dear to us, whether family, friends, or family of friends can make you want to go back to the days when grounding and boys were the highest on the terrible scale.  I personally believe there is a higher power, that the people we have lost are in a better place, and though it does cushion the blow a little bit, it still sucks.  

I've been up and down on the emotional roller coaster since all of this has happened, hurting for those hurting, sad for those sad.  Wishing everyone had known what was coming, wishing they had time to prepare, wishing they could have known to say what they needed or wanted to say.  Without wanting it to, attending funerals and seeing people grieving has taken me back to nine years ago when all of that sadness struck our family, and let me tell you, it's hard to get out of that funk once you're in it.

Today is Kid's Day.  For those of you who don't know what Kid's Day is, one day every year our local newspaper donates all sales of a particular issue to the children's hospital.  People and kids volunteer to stand on street corners throughout town all morning, freezing their fingers off with smiles on their faces, in order to sell papers to benefit the hospital.  There's a special cover, a few stories about families going through tough times, sick kids, what the hospital has done for them, ect.  Last year they raised $425,000.  This year their goal  is $400,000, and even though times are touch economically, I have a feeling they'll exceed it again just like last year.  

One of today's Kid's Day cover pictures is about a preemie, a little girl born at just one pound, three ounces - arriving into this world premature at only 23 weeks.  As my oldest gave a fellow student our donation and threw the paper my way before running off to class this morning, I looked at the picture of the card someone was holding, the imprints of the baby girl's hand and foot prints, the dime sitting right next to one of the hand prints (it was almost the exact same size), and my stomach sank.  I even said  "That's so sad." as the girls were getting out of the car. I thought about how terrible it was, how terrible it all is - this life.  How sadness and pain is everywhere, all the time, no matter where we look, or what news we listen to.

The girls had been messing with my husband's ipod, and "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flats was playing as I drove home from the school.  I looked over at the paper on the passenger seat, a the other cover picture, a baby boy born premature, with a scar on his little stomach and tubes going into his nose, and right then, I realized I had it all wrong.  How was that sad?  That baby was here!  Alive!  He had made it!  I was seeing everything backwards.  When did that happen?  I didn't used to see things that way.  When did my outlook get so dire, so bogged down, with me concentrating on loss instead of life?  

Tragedies make you sit back and appreciate the little things, those you love and who are dear to you.  They remind you that no one knows when their time to leave this earth is, and that because of that fact, every hour, every moment is special.  Sometimes it takes a while for that reminder to grab hold, to control your thoughts though, because grief has taken over your mind, heart or whole body.  I remember when that was me.  When nothing made sense, and I could think of nothing other than the "Why"s and "What if"s and "I should have"s.   

I also remember how much better I felt when concentrating on the good times.  "Remember when"s are one of the best therapies I know.  


Tara said...

I'm sorry for your recent loss/heartache. Things can get so overwhelming at times that it's hard to see through the sorrow.

From my perspective (my twins were 2mths preemie - my son had tubes everywhere) I wondered what made you sad about those photos. I'm thrilled to look back at my photos and remember just how far my son (and daughter, of course - though she was pretty stable) have come in 8 years. So glad you were able to eventually see the beauty in that, too :) It's an amazing thing.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

What made me sad, Tara, was feeling for that baby, for whatever he was having to go through or had already gone through physically. Kind of like wishing he didn't have to feel any of it, you know?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm sorry you've had such a difficult time recently.
You're right - life was simpler when we were young, even thought we made it complicated.
I wonder if when we are all in our 70's and 80's we'll feel the same way about our life right now?

Tara said...

I get it :) And believe me, I didn't feel too optimistic while my kids had feeding tubes and needles all over their tiny little bodies. But, looking back, I don't feel any sadness, don't really remember it at all. And I'm glad you were able to get there, see the beauty behind it, if that makes sense.

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time right now. But there must be a reason for it, to see the life around you, to feel the love, even through the grief. Life certainly sucks sometimes, but there is joy, if you look.

Elisabeth Black said...

I am so sorry you've had sadness.

I agree with you that there is a silver lining on the preemie, but there's nothing wrong with grief over the wrongs of this world, either. It makes us human. It makes us better than human.

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'm so sorry for all the grief and tragedy that's come your way, but I'm glad you seem to be through the worst of it. Being human and living through things is difficult, but amazingly can also be the source of our greatest joy.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Thanks for the kind wishes guys! I was just venting, sharing how even though things bad always happen around us, there are good things to remember too;)

Tara- I understand what you're saying, you were the mom, looking at it from a completely different point of view!

L. Diane, I can't imagine how it will be when we are in our 70's and 80's, there will be even more losses than there is now, that can't be easy!

Travener said...

Sorry about your recent bad news. Life is such an adventure, with so many possible waypoints and directions that depend on the most random of occurences, some good, some bad. I guess that's one of the reasons some of us are always writing about it.

Cassandra Frear said...

May God comfort you with the comfort that is beyond words.

Jon Paul said...

Jessica--really nice thoughtful post on a difficult subject. Happy that it brought you a moment of clarity on what is important in life.

I'm a first time reader--and a coffee lover to boot. Thanks, BTW, for stopping by my place and for the follow. I appreciate it.