Sunday, June 26, 2011

Enjoy the ride

Dear Stevie,
As I've been working on my book, I've been thinking a lot about the things I've learned over the past year or so. About myself. About grief. About life. I've been trying to come up with a way of eloquently and succinctly explaining the most important lessons I've learned, but I just don't think I'm ever going to come up with anything as perfect as this quote from the late Gilda Radner:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. LIFE is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next." 

Gilda Radner, a member of the original Saturday Night Live cast, never lost a baby; she spoke these words as she herself was dying of cancer. 

I've mentioned in previous posts that I really hate surprises, not knowing what's going to happen next. Your death and the crazy year that's followed has really stretched me as a person, forcing me to let go of the silly notion that I have any sort of control over what happens in my life. I thought I could plan it all out, check things off my list, and enjoy the perfect life I'd created for myself. Now I know that's not how it works.

But, though I've learned I don't have control over what happens in my life, I've also learned something even more important: that I do have control of how I react to those things. I've learned to take the moment and make the best of it. It's a choice, making something good come out of something bad*. It's something you have to consciously, continuously decide to do. These things that happen in our lives, they can either break us down or make us stronger. Why not choose to allow them to do the latter? 

It's strange. I can actually remember the moment I made that decision. It was a little over a week after you died. On a Monday. I was laying out on my deck, on the new black lounge chair my parents bought and put out there in an attempt to lure me out of the house. I was just laying there by myself, the bright sun warming my face, when the thought popped into my mind, "I am going to make good things come from this." Simple as that. Loud and clear. I have no idea where it came from. At that point, it could have mainly been some sort of survival mechanism or something. But that afternoon, something changed inside of me. So much of that first month is such a blur, but I can remember that little conversation in my head so vividly. 

I often think back to that Monday in the sun. When I'm having a hard day, when things in my life aren't going the way I'd like them do, I try to remember that silent promise I made to myself. Good things will come from this. Good things have come from this. From you.

My life headed in new directions. Like a runaway train, winding its way through hidden paths and places I would have never mapped out for myself. I guess it's time to hop on board, close my eyes, and enjoy the ride. 

I love you, baby girl. 


*Yes, 'bad' is the understatement of the year. Words like awful, horrible, unimaginable, devastating, and life-shattering are probably more appropriate.


Shaina Gadow said...

Wow…Gilda Radner did say it perfectly.

I took me a little bit longer to figure out that good things have come into my life since Silas died and he has made me a better person. It honestly took finding FOL and getting involved that helped me make that switch. You are totally right that we can't control how our life unfolds, but we can control how we react and that realization has been so empowering.

Beautiful letter to your little Stevie. :)


Franchesca said...

Beautifully put Kristin. I love that you can remember that moment. What a defining moment. Good things have come from your loss, your little girl.


My New Normal said...

I remember making a similar choice shortly after my son died. I was and still am determined to not become frozen in time. This is something that has happened to me, but I will not allow it to define me.

Happiness is a choice and I am choosing to be happy.

Brooke said...

Gilda Radner never had a stillborn baby, but she did have multiple miscarriages before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I've always admired her humor and comedy, and it seems especially significant that someone so freaking funny knew what it was to be incredibly sad, too.

Deanna said...

Wonderful things have come from Stevie. This post sounds much like a moment, I had where I thought "I can be mad and angry about this the rest of my life, or I can choose to be happy he was here at all" ... some days it is harder to be happy, that I am mothering a child no longer on Earth, but it's easier than being angry. Choosing our reaction is truly the key. Hugs to you, Kristin!!

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