I think living means you need to purposefully ignore a lot of painful realities. As we go through our every days, doing such mundane tasks as grocery list-making and paying bills and brushing our teeth, we need to actively ignore the fact that we will one day die and all the people we love most will too. (Cheerful thought to start a Tuesday, no?) The whens and hows are a mystery and so we push these dreadful truths aside and live like we have forever, and all the ones we love have forever too.
At times, it's harder to deny these truths. A little girl I know, younger than my own little girl, is battling cancer. Why does a three year old get cancer and how does any of that fit into the bigger picture of life and what it all means? Surgeries, chemo, and dreadful side effects. An entire family's blue sky existence now muddled with stormy clouds and no break in sight.
People say when this happens, be grateful for your children and their health. But this just doesn't sit right with me. Why do I get to have children who can skip in the sunshine and play baseball while another little girl lies motionless for weeks in a hospital bed? And if that can happen to her in an instant, who's to say that it can't happen to me or my family in an instant too? How can you be grateful for your happiness knowing another is in exquisite pain?
More than ever, I see the yin and yang of life- the light and the dark. A friend's marriage over before it began. A colleague's treasured mother passing away. A little girl who posed with the Easter bunny at the beginning of March now fighting an aggressive cancer. A fire fighter father who lives on Long Island killed on the job. A little boy shot to death walking onto a school playground. Sadness everywhere.
Yet light, too. On Sunday, I took my daughter Megan to our Mommy and Me yoga class. The sky was crayon blue and Megan wore lavender sunglasses in the shape of a heart, with pearls around the edges. She looked like a movie star and chattered on happily, as we held hands, walking to the studio. Her small hand, so cozy in mine. Sunshine.
So, as much as I can, I push the fear and the painful realities aside, and focus on the here and now and all the mundane tasks that need to get done. I work to do good while I can and show my love for the people I care about. I try to be one of the helpers Mr. Roger's mother talked about when she told him to "look for the helpers" when bad things happen. I just wish bad things could stop happening.