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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Becoming the Butterfly.

Wow! I hardly recognized you, you've changed so much.  How many times have you heard this comment, or have found yourself saying it to someone you haven't seen in a while.  

Last night friends got together with my husband and I, we had a great time, it was fun.  We talked about what ever, but one of the topics that came up and sometimes can cause debate, was how some people we know have changed.  My argument always being that we need to look at everything from every angle.  We don't know what is going on, what may be happening in their lives.  

I was told last night that I hadn't changed at all, even though I had suffered a parent's worst nightmare, the death of my daughter, they told me I was till the same.  I chuckled, what!!!, oh I've changed, I know I have, but what they didn't see, was what happens inside.  I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, I smile, and when asked how I am, my comment is always 'no complaints,' so I guess I appear unaffected by what happened in my life.   But oh how so far from the truth that really is. 

My attitude toward life is so very different, I no longer worry about what others think of me, if they like me or not.  I have come to realize that life is too short for trivial things.  It doesn't mean I live my life as if nothing matters, I still care, I still do my best to make others feel welcome and accepted.  I also have learned not to take anyone dear to me for granted.  One very important change that most people do not see on the surface, is the emptiness that I feel, that I carry with me everywhere I go, as if I have lost a piece of me.  And actually I have, losing my daughter was just like watching a part of me die.  All the resuscitation in the world, cannot revived that part of my heart.  

We all experience change in our lives, sometimes for the better and at others not so welcomed.  When life sends us something to cope with we adapt, we change and for the most part (hopefully) come out all the better because of it.  I am beginning to learn to live again without my daughter in my life, I have also watched friends and loved ones pick up the pieces after illness, job loss, divorce and so many life altering events.  For the most part they have emerged better people, more aware, having more empathy for others and more tolerant of others and what they may be facing.  

On the flip side of all this, there are those individuals who appear to become harder, more cynical, who simply brushed their life lessons aside, learning what seems as nothing from it.  My heart aches for these people as I watched them throw yet another opportunity to make a difference in theirs and the lives of others away.  

Change is inevitable, and change we do and often must, in order to cope, to move forward to survive.  Today at Mass our pastor shared a story of how an elderly woman was complaining to her friends.  She told them that she had sent Thanksgiving cards with checks to her grandchildren and not one had stopped by or called to say thank you.  Christmas came around and again she sent cards with checks to her grandchildren.  As she met up with her friends, she told them that she had sent cards again with checks, but as she said this she smiled.  Her friends were perplexed, why would you send them anything.  Oh, she told her friends that all her grandchildren had stopped by to thank her in person.  Wow! what changed this time, well, she said, now really pleased with herself, 'I didn't sign the checks."

Sometimes we need to create the change in others, or find a way to help them along.  We can only hope and pray that we learn from life, from others and from ourselves.  That we learn to accept that we sometimes need to change, to make room for others.  Just like new parents, make room in their lives and heart for a new baby, so too must we change. We need to allow ourselves to grow, to become stronger, and to take the lessons life teaches us, and build from them.  

We also need to accept the change in others around us, like us they to have been affected, by the loss, by the death of someone dear, or by whatever has caused them to redirect their lives.  We may find that like us, they are more withdrawn, less talkative, unable to express what they are feeling or going through.  After Rachel's death I avoided all the familiar, I longed for totally anonymity.  I preferred being around people who had no clue what I had gone through, it allowed me freedom.  I didn't not have to worry about how I acted, what they perceived as possibly inappropriate behavior for a bereaved mother.  Which actually, I had no clue what was expected of me, how I should act, how I should feel, this was all very foreign to me,  I had not been down a road like this before.  
'Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.' 
King Whitney, Jr.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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