Last night, as I was driving, I heard George Strait's "The Breath You Take" and I was brought to tears. It's not the first time I've heard the song based off the quote but after the hardships of this year, it struck a chord. I remember when I first heard the quote, before the song, I assumed it was talking about the good times. That in our living we should be focused on those beautiful moments in our lives, our wedding day, the birth of our children, certain milestones, good memories and while those sentiments are true there are equally bad moments that take our breath away. That thought clicked in my mind as the song came through my radio. The struggle has been real and while the birth of a child nearly 9 months ago was breathtaking in a beautiful, miraculous way, the loss of a child three months ago was breathtaking too, in the gut wrenching, heartbreaking way. Both moments have equal value in my life. One good, one bad. Both moments shape and define my life, who I am and who I'll be in the future. Yes, breathing indicates life. If we weren't breathing we'd be dead. But the proof that you're truly alive is in the moments that define us, however breathtaking they may be.
In the midst of grief, it is hard to see the good. And I for one, am annoyed when people gloss over your pain with trivial statements, however well meaning they may be. Yes, life goes on. Yes, you will get through it. Yes, you can try for another baby. But when your breath has been taken away by pain and loss, those words can seem heartless and cruel. In these moments in life, people just need a listening ear, a good deed, an assurance that they are not alone in their suffering. When the burden begins to lighten and they begin to breathe again the memory of that pain won't be an oppressive darkness. There will be light there and in times of remembering that pain, they will see that they didn't walk alone. And that breathtaking moment won't be so hard to bear.
I find myself in this place. I realized recently that had my baby been able to live, I would know the sex, possibly have a name picked out. I would be planning and buying and rejoicing. But those things aren't happening. Yes, it's incredibly sad. There are days when grief sneaks up and slaps me around but I can look back on that breathtaking moment and know that I'm alive and I didn't walk alone and that gives me joy amidst the pain.
My life won't be defined by how long I live but how well I lived, through the good and the bad.