Our experiences open our eyes to the world around us. Grief changes us. For me, it has helped me see the world differently. I see people differently. In my year of grieving and trying to heal from the loss of one of my twin daughters I have learned some very important things about people.
People will surprise you. Some people that you never would expect anything from will bend over backwards to help you through whatever difficulty you are facing. As an optimist who has seen perfect strangers commit amazing acts of love towards other people in a time of need, this was not actually the element that surprised me.
The surprise came from the disappointment as some of the people that I believed were my “inner circle,” my champions, my “peeps” have stood by the wayside and never offered a hand or a word of encouragement. Even now, as I channel all of my efforts into fundraising for an organization that I hope will one day find a cure for the ailment that took my infant daughter, I am surprised at the rejection I face from some. I do not know how to effectively communicate that my extensive involvement is a part of my healing process. My drive and passion for this organization are not only my way to honor and remember my daughter, but my involvement is one of the few ways that I feel like I can actually do something to make a difference. I want to be a part of something bigger, better… meaningful. I want to help even one person not feel the pain and the loss that I felt.
But, I must remember that this is my healing process, and not everyone is going to travel the road with me.
It is difficult for people to relate to something that has never touched them. This is how I console myself when I am told “no” when I ask for support. Until you are faced with a situation, it is difficult to know and understand the emotions, the changes that happen in you because of the event, and the willingness you may have to try to do something to try to make a change that may prevent future occurrences.
Not only do I see this in my personal life, but I see it in a large scale in our country right now. I think about the shootings at Newton Falls. Just as I wonder why the people in my life cannot understand how important it is to me to garner their support, I have an equally difficult time understanding why our nation cannot realize that we can still have our freedoms and implement programs that can make us safer. It is hard for me to understand how anyone can be so black and white on this topic, in which grey area abounds. There again, if people are not personally affected, it is difficult to engage them to take action.
I have held a dying child in my arms. I know what it feels like to watch an innocent slip away. And that experience impacted me in a way that, regardless of any feelings I may have had about my personal rights, makes me want to do everything possible to protect these little ones.
People have short memories. It is amazing how quickly we move on and forget. In some ways, this is good. I am a proponent for moving on with life and healing. But I want to learn and grow in my healing process. I want to take my experience and make something from it. Don’t we all? Doesn’t everyone just want their life to matter?
These generalities about people have helped me view life a little more calmly. I am a little less emotionally charged about things that used to bother me tremendously. I am more open to trying to view the world in someone else’s shoes. I still have days in which I cannot understand why life deals us the cards we get. I suppose it is all part of the process.
May 5th is International Bereaved Mothers Day. A day we honor the mothers who were left with empty arms. Will you try to look at the world through someone else’s eyes for the day?