Losing Everything... The Real Perspective
How does one manage when they have lost ‘everything’? How does one find the will to live, to wake up in the morning and carry on? When I say ‘everything’, I don’t mean houses, cars, and clothes. Those are just ‘things’. I mean family, children, spouses… all of them.
Around 11 years ago, I traveled up to Troy, Alabama with The Great Omnipotent One. Many of his kin were from that area and when we visited the court house, making our way down the basement, we found pre-civil war papers on his family… my family. We found indications of where ancestors were buried, so we made our way back to the next floor, finding maps, showing us where these plots were located.
After driving around for quite some time, we found a very old cemetery; it appeared to be in someone’s backyard, an inactive cemetery if I recall. We parked the car and looked for the tombstones of my GGG grandmother and her spouse. There they stood, two large tombstones, side by side, but off to the right of hers were four little tombstones. Upon getting a closer look, I saw that they were tombstones of some of her children… babies… those of her children that died at the infant or toddler stages of life. I felt a vise like grip upon my heart, my throat ever so slightly closing off as I thought of losing children… I was not a mother yet, but even then, the thought was incomprehensible to me. The heavy heart and grief these people must have carried around with them for their entire lives.
Now we see it on television, hear it on the radio, and read about it on-line or in the papers… over 44,000 people dead and more expected as the fear of disease potentially continuing to ravage countries already devastated by vast death and destruction is becoming a likelihood. Cholera, malaria, diseases we don’t speak of in the US, but very much a potential reality in these grief stricken countries.
How can we not be sickened by this? Please tell me I am not the only one weeping for these people. I remember huddling in my hallway, at the doorway of the bathroom where my three young boys lay sleeping on the floor, hearing the winds howl about my home, roof tiles being picked off like sand, being hurled across my roof, banging and clanging. I was listening to the radio as a rescue team in a SWAT vehicle went out in the middle of Jeanne to rescue a family whose home had literally come apart around them. As I heard the screen porch coming apart, the windows creaking and the storm shutters literally being pulled off my home, I spooned up to my husband and said, “Oh my God, we’re going to f-cking die.” And then I prayed, I fervently prayed, “Please, do not take my children.”
I would die for my children. No questions asked. No hesitation. My life for theirs any.day.of.the.week.
And I read the accounts, and I watch the news, and I hear… I hear of all the families dying. A woman, age 41, two years older than myself, 11 children… all of them… gone. A man, looked to be around my age, lost his wife, his children, his parents, his siblings. One third of the dead… children.
And I am heart broken for them. How does one continue to exist when all that really matters ceases to?