For as long as I can remember, I was that girl that would look into the windows of houses as we drove by or to the cars alongside us on the road and wonder, what was really going on in their lives? I always wondered what celebrations, acts of everyday life or awful truths were going on behind those windows and doors. I knew better than to assume that the grass was greener. And I have always tried not to use the phrase, "must be nice". Because you just never know.
Lately, I wish I wasn't that girl. I sit in our living room or pass our window and can see the house across the street, our good friends house, and my stomach flips a bit and I have to fight the tears that are at the surface. I know all to well what is happening behind those windows and doors. Heartache.
I was in the shower and my thoughts wandered to our friends and their family. In particular, their sister. I thought about her in her hospital bed and all at once I couldn't hold back the tears. I wondered what she must be thinking and how badly she must wish she could wake from this nightmare and return home to her children. Her four children. The youngest, nine. My Ethan is nine. I couldn't imagine leaving him behind or bare the thought of someone telling him that I did. I can't imagine that for any of my children. But having the similarities in age hit too close to my heart and it was breaking for those children and their mother.
I am not close with her though we've spoke several times. And shortly after I met our neighbors, they told me that I reminded them of their sister; certain characteristics anyhow. I know her children better, especially the youngest. There is some distance, but clearly not enough because this hurts, for several reasons. One of them being the feeling of helplessness.
What makes this so hard (for me...and this isn't meant to be about me) is that this is a story I can't skip over or an article I can't ignore. It's a familiar scene that gets played out in the movies, except it's a movie I would most likely never buy a ticket to because even watching it is painful. I wish she could swing her legs out of bed when the sad scene was over, call for a Manhattan to drink and her stage make-up to be wiped off. I know what the reality is. This is a book I would never choose to read either.
I'm not close enough to help in a big enough way, yet I am not far enough away not to feel some of their pain. I know too much and it seems inappropriate to be this sad. The sadness isn't for me, entirely. I understand that some of this comes from past losses that I am sure I held back for. So much of it is for the pain that I know everyone is feeling. I have the same thoughts, concerns and worries that I am sure they do as well. There is a common pain. More common than it should be.
So tonight, I went in and kissed each one of my children while they lay sleeping in their beds, again, because I could. My life meant little to me before I had children. I understand my importance in their lives and I try not to take that for granted. I don't know what God's intentions are in this situation. I don't understand why four children may have to be motherless sooner than anyone ever should. I want to believe what my best friend says about God having a better plan. She should know, she lost her mother more than 9 years ago. I want to believe that there is a better place. But I worry that the children won't understand this. And even if they do, I can't help but think of the awful sadness in their poor little hearts. I wish I could take this from them.
I know that their mother will be alright. I imagine these past months, actually year, have been more difficult than any of us could imagine. In time, things will get easier as everyone learns to navigate the loss. The sadness will come in waves. Slowly, life will return to a different kind of normal. For now, there is great discomfort and we are reminded how precious and fragile life is all at once.
I will continue to hold firm in my faith and pray for what ever God thinks is best. Clearly this is a book I am not allowed to close without finishing. I am sure there is a reason for that. I will be there for my friends. Right now, I am going to go and kiss my sleeping children once more....