This past weekend I attended a funeral for a little girl. I had never had to do this before. I knew it would be hard, but even still I was not prepared. It was one of the most deeply moving and completely devastating experiences I’ve ever had in this life.
It was absolutely gut wrenching walking in and seeing her favorite toys, books, and stuffies on display. The photo slideshow felt like a slightly different, but very familiar, reiteration of all the photos in my camera roll of my own kids. There was this weird tug and pull between “look at these things that feel so normal” and “this is the most unnatural, unusual, unfair situation I’ve ever been a part of.”
I think it is in the space between those two things that I’m sitting. For some reason, the thought I can’t shake is this: how lucky, and absolutely out of our minds, are we to love our people everyday.
There is a certain monotony that comes with being human. We strive for some level of normalcy, predictability, and routine. But when we get there it is so easy to turn on autopilot and just trod through. Sometimes we have to because if we truly paused to realize the extremity of our responsibilities and relationships here on earth we would be overcome with overwhelm and fear.
I remember after Molly was diagnosed with leukemia and we were waiting on some important lab values to determine her official diagnosis and course of treatment. No parent wants to think about losing their child, but we knew her prognosis would change greatly depending on these results. The thought crossed my mind, “if the news is terrible and we do have limited time, would she know my love for her?” I vividly remember holding this space of being so broken I could hardly breathe and also just wanting to love her harder and more and fully.
I think that is what it is to be human. To be in the midst of it all: pain, joy, suffering, excitement, disappointment, fear, pride, etc. and to allow ourselves to feel that and share that with those we let in all while knowing it could disappear in an instant. Not allowing the fear of complete and utter destruction to hold us back from loving and living right now.
I watched the parents of the little girl who was laid to rest bravely stand up and share some words about their daughter and their life with her. Despite their shock and devastation I know for certain they wouldn’t have traded their time with her. They would do it all again just for those moments of loving her. How freaking beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.
Every single day we wake up and choose to love our people: partners, kids, friends, etc. and everyday that comes with the risk of total annihilation. We open our hearts and yet it could all disappear in a snap. It’s all so fragile and while we know that we can’t let ourselves sit in that reality all the time because it’s so huge and heavy. If I let myself acknowledge this fully every single day I don’t know if I would ever get out of bed, and I for sure wouldn’t leave the house. The preciousness of it all is so much.
We can live and hope for health and safety and time. And if we are lucky we get that. But it isn’t promised. And yet, we show up and continue to love. We are idiots. (But also thank god we are.)
How beautiful that knowing everyday we open our hearts up to all the love and joy and fullness at the risk of complete and utter devastation. How resilient of us. How hopeful. How absolutely insane. How very brave.
Today, do me a favor and go hug your loved ones, especially your babies.
With so much love and gratitude,