Friday, January 14, 2011

Thank you to the readers who responded to my whinge about being a lazy blogger! I intend to keep on, but I just find it so hard to write in between the responsibilities that have fallen to me. My 85 year old mother-in-law, Thomas's paternal grandmother, lives with us and is in failing health. My job is to get her to the doctor(s) in an effort to alleviate her discomfort and maybe even cure the underlying problems. She came under our responsibility a few months after Thomas was killed and her presence has reminded me almost daily that we have a responsibility to the living in addition to our need to honor the fallen. She spent most of the last week in the hospital, and the thought of lugging my laptop to her fifth floor room, even for the free wifi, was just more than I could bear. She's home for now.

I have been really aware of being a Gold Star mother recently. A friend, who started as an online friend and who I met in the flesh about a year after Thomas died, lost her infant daughter on January 5th. Baby Gianna had a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 18 which is inevitably lethal: for two months her mother carried her knowing that her daughter might be stillborn or live only a few hours. Gianna lived for two weeks after her birth and then passed away peacefully, at home, with her family. It was a very brave thing they did, and I am in awe of them.

When young people die, whether they are two weeks, nine years or twenty as Thomas was, we often focus on the time they lost, the potential that would not be fulfilled. But I have come to feel more and more strongly that we need to understand that they time they did have was important. It may have been short, but it had impact far beyond our imaginations. Gianna's CaringBridge site has had over 23,000 visits as of this evening and many who have read it have been deeply affected by her spirit which allowed her to live two weeks and by the actions of her parents and family which exemplified unselfish love. A nine-year old girl in Arizona was killed when a madman opened fire on a crowd of constituents meeting their Representative: by all accounts, Christina Taylor Green was out to change her world for the better. I think she has. And Thomas and all the young men and women who have given their lives in this effort to protect us all from terrorism: who would say that their lives were meaningless?

We hate to see young lives cut short and rightly so, but we need to remember that those lives were more than unfulfilled potential: they had meaning too.

Labels: ,