"Sometimes I think, 'It's just not fair.'" Words shared, this past week-end, between Mike and me immediately after visiting Austin's grave site.
LIVIN' LOVIN' LIFE (LLL) - When Life's Not Fair
There have been times, since Austin's death, that I begin to think for just a minute, "Why did Austin have to die when he was just beginning to really live? Why did I lose my son? Is it really fair?" Almost just as quickly I think, "Why not me? Why do I think I am immune to losing a child? Who am I that tragedy should not happen to me?"
Prior to Austin's accident I would worry about my kids. I would worry when the boys played sports, went to camp, rode their bikes up the road, were having trouble in school, were making poor choices, were just living life. I would worry when Austin was driving 6 hours to Massachusetts to visit us. These weren't stop you from functioning types of worries. They were simply "mom" worries. But, I truly never thought one of my boys would die, because that only happened in other families.
Even today, after I have lost a son in a motorcycle accident, I still cannot imagine other tragedies happening to my kids or family. If I'm brutally honest, there are times I think, "Only other parents have more than one child that dies. Only other parents have a child who: is diagnosed with Leukemia, is addicted to drugs, drops out of school, becomes rebellious and turns their back on their family, or any other 'bad' thing that can happen to a child." And I also think, "Only other couples get divorced; only other wives lose their husbands; only other familes file bankruptcy only other people's homes get destroyed by a tornado, earthquake, or fire; only others get cancer or have a heart attack; only others...."
And then I think, "How arrogant of me to think that I am exempt from the blows of life. Who do I think I am?"
Reality hits and begins to sink in. I did lose my oldest son. I am one of those "other mom's". I have been dealt one of the worst (if not the worst) thing a parent could experience. I did not have a choice, but it's not because "life is not fair", it's because "life is life". I cannot always decide what is going to happen, but once it happens I can decide how to deal with it. I can choose to let it pull me down and swallow me up, or I can look it in the face and choose to live.
This does not mean that I am never sad that Austin is no longer with me. This does not mean I don't have moments or days when I miss him so very much that it feels as if my heart is doing to break in half. Not at all... What it does mean is that I accept the cards I have been dealt and figure out how to still enjoy the life that I now have. I become present in the moments I've been given with my other two boys and husband. I look at the beauty in this world and soak it in. I laugh, even when my heart is still aching. I look at the tragedy of losing my son and allow it to help me look at what is truly important in life and then continue to live it. It is my choice, when life is not fair, to decide to still find joy in it, because there is still lots of it to be enjoyed.
"When life deals you a 'bad hand' and something tragic takes place you have a choice of either drown or start swimming. Make your choice count." Author Unknown