Friday, October 7, 2011

Freaking dots

A blogger that I follow just posted this quote addressing something that I used to believe in, but its harder/iffy now:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." ~ Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

We had our lives so nicely planned out. Joe did the military thing while I worked on my degree and we waited to have kids until he was out. (Being a child bride, figured we had plenty of time for that. And I was adamantly against having/raising military brats- I admire the women who can do it but I was pretty much the Worst Military Wife Ever and knew adding kids to the mix at that time would have been a horrible idea.) He finally got out and I finished my degree and found a job, then a different "better" job that turned out to be Hell City. I got pregnant and nearly died and before we could even set up the baby crib, we picked out a casket for our daughter instead. I might not be Mother Teresa, but karma can suck it, because nothing I've done was That Bad for us to deserve losing our daughter, and there are some pretty crappy people who manage to have kids (Casey Anthony?). And I know some really really great people who lost babies too. So where is the karma in that?

But as bad as it was and is, it could have been a lot worse. Suppose, for instance, that I hadn't been adamantly anti-military-brats for us. (Joe actually wanted to start having kids almost immediately.) If I had gotten pregnant when we were overseas, and that pregnancy had turned out like it went with Olivia, I would have died too, there's no doubt in my mind about that. The military doctors where we were stationed were not very good (they are a big reason Joe's knee is considered permanently damaged turns out that Motrin can not fix Everything.) There was not an American OB on the island. The off base hospital had very few English speakers, could not do c-sections or epidurals, probably did not have magnesium sulfate which prevented me from seizing, and if they had bothered to take me seriously at all and done bloodwork, it likely would have come back a week or two later. What happened to us was awful, but it could have been worse. I guess.

If we hadn't lost Olivia, I'd still be teaching and missing out on a lot of their babyhood with my hours and hours of grading and planning every night. I may have kept a friend or two who deserted me when I needed them most, but I wouldn't have met some of the great people who I have met who are and will be fantastic friends for many years to come. Would I trade my new friends and teaching to have her back? Absolutely. (Sorry.) But the what if game is not much fun and there are no trades, only what is.

What is, is that Olivia has brought so many great people and friends into our lives. What is, is that we have a beautiful little boy, losing Olivia has made it easier in some ways to parent him. So he woke up 10 times last night (true story), I snuggled with him on my chest in our recliner and marveled at how much of my body space he is taking up these days and am just so thankful that he is here and healthy. The little things like that, it is a little easier to appreciate and deal with some of the harder stuff, because nothing is harder than watching your baby die. What is, is that I have a new path that isn't teaching and I think I will be pretty good at it and I think that I will love it and I think that it will fit very well into our lives, allowing my to still have time at home with Lucas and also not having to drag work home.

So I don't really believe so much in karma anymore- crappy things happen to great people and horrible people get away with murder. But maybe the dots do connect after all, maybe not in the way we thought we should or would have liked them to, but maybe I am starting to trust that maybe one of the worst things to say to a bereaved parents, "things happen for a reason" has some hint of truth. Not that there is ever, will ever, be a reason good enough for Olivia to have died. BUT, if she had to die, at least I am at a place now where I can appreciate that her death, as horrible as it is and was, has brought some good changes and maybe pointed me to a better path than the one I was on.


Brooke said...

I still clench my teeth at the idea that "everything happens for a reason." But I do agree that there are gifts our babies leave behind when they die, and we can choose to ignore or embrace those gifts. One of them, certainly, is the way this loss changes our priorities, and another is the way we will parent future children. And those can be beautiful and meaning gifts, for sure. So I love Olivia for giving you that gift.

And, yes, we'd do anything we could to bring them back. But the new friends are another gift they've give us, and one that I'm definitely grateful for as well.

Brooke said...

Oh, and about karma! Have you read this great post?

Sonja said...

This is an amazing post. Thank you.

You describe how I feel - that Elizabeth's accident was the worst thing to ever happen and yet taught me what life is actually all about - and also how I hope I'll feel - that all the moments with our future children are precious in a way that I would not have known otherwise.

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