They say things happen in three’s. This week it was four’s. It’s been a surreal week full of emotion. Tragedy and joy. Elation and grief. Life has come into this world, life has been uprooted, and life has ended. This week began as any other but mid-morning Tuesday my husband sent me a text that an old co-worker’s husband had died. A mountain biking accident far from home. He fell and was unconscious with no one around to know. No one to call for help. This family is young, the spouse pregnant, and already with two little daughters. My breath escapes me as I imagine her grief. A young family shattered. Changed forever.
Next, another text, this time from a friend: “Hey, check your email. I can’t go tonight and sent you an email with details.” This time it was a father battling cancer; metastasis have been found. It’s terminal. Another breath escaped me, this time not as much reserve left to exhale.
The next day, two events.
My mother went in for a hysterectomy after months of suspicious symptoms. My dad called around 3:30 PM on Friday. “Mom is out of surgery but not quite awake. I wanted to call you with an update. I just want you to know that’s she’s okay and everything is fine. She’s okay, ” he repeated. Oh no. Some visceral emotion clenched my gut and I sat up. This time I held my breath, trying to listen to every word. “They found a malignancy but it looks like they got it all.” Cancer. Cancer. My mom. My thoughts scattered into a million pieces.
Amidst all this my dear friend was scheduled for an induction Friday morning, her due date expired by a week. She labored all day; working, sweating, anxious for her son to enter the world. At the end of the day he wasn’t quite ready and she labored through the night. An early morning C-section and birth of a baby boy shed some light on this dark week.
At times such as this we are boldly reminded of the precariousness of life. How quickly it can be taken away and with such startling audacity. Why now? Why not? The images of my friends holding their new baby boy paralleled with the raw emotions of losing a husband and the battles of cancer seem incongruous. But if we are capable of experiencing the ecstasy of bringing a new life into this world then we must also be capable of the calamitous pain of losing a life.
I will cope with prayer right now. When it seems you can do nothing or say nothing that makes the pain better, prayer is always there. Maybe a hot meal and a hug, too. I sigh a heavy sigh of emotional disorientation.