Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Catching My Breath

I went for a run last night, veered off the normal course, and found myself facing a steep hill.
Rather than stop beside the busy roadway at the peak of rush-hour traffic, (and risk being recognized as the girl from FOX panting like a hyena), I pushed it to the top, and collapsed on a bench overlooking a cemetery.
The welcoming summer breeze prompted me to end my run and cut through the grounds.
A stone butterfly caught my eye.
CORTNI - she was only 7 years old.

I continued walking through the rows of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.
A thought came to my mind.... aren't we all running to the cemetery?
I mean, most of us aren't trying to race there but don't we all have the same destination?

In "The Shortness of Life," Seneca the Younger writes,

"It is not everywhere that death shows himself so near at hand; yet everywhere he is as near at hand." 

He goes on to say: 

"..the good in life does not depend upon life's length, but upon the use we make of it; also, that it is possible, or rather usual, for a man who has lived long to have lived too little." 

No one is perfect.
We all make mistakes, waste precious time and take for granted what we should cherish most.
But sometimes, whether intentional or not, we find ourselves in a place where we can hear a gentle whisper reminding us that life is a gift, and every moment- an opportunity to appreciate what's right in front of us.

Before I left, I smiled at a veteran's advice to the living standing at his grave:


I'll take the cemetery detour again this summer.

It puts things into perspective.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dear Doctor

Florida mom Courtney Baker is making national headlines for the letter she posted to her Facebook page:

Dear Doctor,

A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms. He would check over her baby and comment, “He’s perfect.” Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said,

“I told you. He’s perfect.”

Her story tore me apart. While I was so grateful for my friend’s experience, it filled me with such sorrow because of what I should have had. I wish you would have been that doctor.

I came to you at the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious, and in complete despair. I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we abort our child. I told you her name and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy. From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments. The most difficult time in my life was made nearly unbearable because you never told me the truth.

My child was perfect.

I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad. I’m sad that the tiny beating hearts you see every day don’t fill you with a perpetual awe. I’m sad that the intricate details and the miracle of those sweet little fingers and toes, lungs and eyes and ears, don’t always give you pause. I’m sad that you were so very wrong to say that a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life. And I’m heartbroken that you might have said that to a mommy even today. But I’m mostly sad that you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter. Emersyn.

Because, you see, Emersyn has not only added to our quality of life, she’s touched the hearts of thousands. She’s given us a purpose and a joy that is impossible to express. She’s given us bigger smiles, more laughter, and sweeter kisses than we’ve ever known. She’s opened our eyes to true beauty and pure love.

So my prayer is that no other mommy will ever have to go through what I did. My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every life displayed on every sonogram. And my prayer is when you see that next baby with Down syndrome lovingly tucked in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mommy and see me, then tell her the truth…

“Your child is absolutely perfect.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Live in the moment

"On the Shortness of Life," by Seneca the Younger... written over a thousand years ago, yet a timeless reminder to live in the moment.

"Why do you torment yourself and lose weight over some problem....
I have no time for such nonsense; a mighty undertaking is on my hands. What am I to do? Death is on my trail, and life is fleeting away; teach me something with which to face these troubles. Bring it to pass that I shall cease trying to escape from death, and that life may cease to escape from me. Give me courage to meet hardships; make me calm in the face of the unavoidable. Relax the straitened limits of the time which is allotted me. Show me that the good in life does not depend upon life's length, but upon the use we make of it; also, that it is possible, or rather usual, for a man who has lived long to have lived too little. Say to me when I lie down to sleep: 'You may not wake again!' And when I have waked: 'You may not go to sleep again!' Say to me when I go forth from my house: 'You may not return' And when I return: 'You may never go forth again!' You are mistaken if you think that only on an ocean voyage there is a very slight space between life and death. No, the distance between is just as narrow everywhere. It is not everywhere that death shows himself so near at hand; yet everywhere he is as near at hand.
Rid me of these shadowy terrors; then you will more easily deliver to me the instruction for which I have prepared myself. At our birth nature made us teachable, and gave us reason, not perfect, but capable of being perfected. Discuss for me justice, duty, thrift, and that twofold purity, both the purity which abstains from another's person, and that which takes care of one's own self. If you will only refuse to lead me along by-paths, I shall more easily reach the goal at which I am aiming. For, as the tragic poet says:
The language of truth is simple.
We should not, therefore, make that language intricate; since there is nothing less fitting for a soul of great endeavour than such crafty cleverness. Farewell."