Yesterday on my way to work I drove past a funeral procession. I’m a generally empathetic person, but there was something different about this moment. As a passed I felt the air change, the energy got thick and dark and I felt swept into a great wave of grief. Moments before I was relishing the sunshine thinking how much better I felt with the change of weather, and then bang - out of nowhere I was engulfed by an overwhelming sense of loss and pain. I burst into tears, I felt an enormous lump in my throat and I all-but had to pull over. It wasn’t my pain, it wasn’t my experience, it wasn’t my loss…but I felt it as real and as raw as if it were my own.
I arrived to work to be greeted by the tragic news of the baby boy that had died in his father’s car. My grief compounded. I felt sick to my stomach. I cannot fathom the pain, the shock, the grief, the regret, the horror that those people must be experiencing right now.
I don’t know if it’s a parent thing, a growth thing, or just an evolution of awareness…but the intensity of my emotions seems so much greater at this point in my life.
Perhaps a big part of it is tied up in having children…I recall a moment shortly after the birth of my first child. I was watching TV and "Law and Order – SVU" came on. It was a show I had once watched regularly, but this time about three minutes in I had to shut it off. It’s amazing how in an instant our perspective of the world can change completely. All of a sudden shows like these, the news, even commercials, could have me in a crumpled mess on the couch, tears streaming, sick to my stomach.
As they say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. With great love comes great fear. Fear of loss, fear of hurt…the fear that is borne from the realisation of just how vulnerable we all really are. Yesterday was an all-consuming reminder.
But my love for my children transcends everything - even the fear that it brings forth. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Nothing. So I’ll embrace the intensity of yesterday as it is a reflection of the depth of love I feel for my family, and the compassion I hold for those who are suffering. And I’ll tell you all again how grateful I am to have the blessing of my children.
Parenting is hard - really, really hard. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions – anxiety, love, fear, guilt, pride, panic, doubt, joy…but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank the universe for my place in it and for the family that surrounds me. My heart bleeds for those whose children have passed on before them. I cannot begin to imagine the world of sorrow and despair that must engulf them. I hope that some light survives the darkness of their days and that they can somehow find a way to let their love outshine the grief that they will no doubt carry in their hearts forever.