While preparing for a conference call with a manager at my new job, her phone rang. I saw the name on the phone and my heart dropped. It was one of the manager' employees calling; an employee whose teenage child was battling cancer. As soon as she picked up the phone and I could hear the cracking of the mothers voice on the other line, I knew it was the call the manager, and all of the wonderful people we work with, had been dreading. Her son wasn't going to make it very long, it was the end. I sat there stunned, tears streaming down my cheeks as I watched this manager crumble yet manage to keep it together just enough to try to be strong for that poor mother. The call ended and we both crumbled together. That sweet mom lost her child a few hours later.
I don't know the mom, I don't know the child and up until 5 minutes before that call came through, I didn't even know this manager. But in that moment, my heart absolutely broke for all of them. I know what it's like to be that mom. Having to make those awful calls. Having to put on a brave face knowing that life as you know if will never be the same. Knowing your hopes, dreams and the future you saw for your child would never come to be. And not knowing how you could possibly take that next breath.
A child is not supposed to die before their parents. It's not the natural order of things yet every single day, I'm reminded that it happens and often. Whether it's the sweet baby still tiny and growing in the womb, the tiny premie born too soon, the baby with the rare heart defect or like Avery, the baby gone for no reason at all; it happens every. single. day. And as Harper continues to grow, the fears of losing her grow too. Accidents, cancer, school shootings, workplace shootings, domestic violence. It surrounds us daily. No matter what any of us do, we aren't safe and nobody is immune. Seriously, how do any of us ever leave the house?
And I've got to be quite honest, some days I just don't know how many more tragic stories of childless or tragic loss my weak heart can bear. Friends, coworkers, strangers - I hear their stories of loss oh so often. And every time my heart breaks. Some days, I'm ready to throw in the towel and retreat into a makeshift bubble where I'm not surrounded by it all anymore. But just when I feel I've had all I can take, someone reaches out who needs to know they are not alone. That they aren't the only person in this miserable world who has buried their baby and feels like the rest of the planet has moved on without them. And just when I feel like giving up, I'm pulled right back in. As hard as it is, as heartbreaking and horrible as it is knowing these tragedies occur daily, it's even more heartbreaking knowing how isolating it can be walking this path. I don't know how doctors, nurses, law enforcement, fire fighters, medics, etc do it constantly. But I'm ever so thankful that they do.
I think I will forever question God as to why parents have to bury their babies. Why is there so much pain and suffering of innocent children? Why let this happen?
It just doesn't make sense and it honestly never will.
This world is a scary place. None of us know what our next hour or even minute brings so let go of the small stuff, say you're sorry and appreciate those you have in your life.