September 12, 2011

loss on a small scale

As the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th has come and gone, I find myself reflecting on the losses in my own life.

My Grampie.

The husband's Grandma.

My uncle.

Three wonderful human beings that were an important part of my life.

Three family members that my son never got to meet.

Three wonderful people who would have absolutely loved him to pieces.

I've noticed that time does a funny thing when you have a child. It warps and twists in such a way that you feel there should be some overlap between different parts of your life ...

That 2001 and 2011 are not so far away from each other. Like next-door neighbors. Best friends. Merely seconds apart ...

And besides, hasn't Malcolm been here for so much longer than two years?

It feels like he has.

It's hard to remember the times without him.

So, some days, my mind just can't process that he missed out on some of the great people that shared my lifetime.

Surely, Malcolm and my Grampie were well-acquainted buddies.

Surely, my husband's Grandma lived to see another great-grandchild.

Surely, my uncle got to hoist my son onto his shoulders or take him to a high school football game.

But they didn't.

While these three losses occurred years ago, they still have some sting left in them. When I look at my son, I realize that he is who he is because of me ... And I am who I am because of them. My family has truly helped to shape me into the adult I am today ... I wish that Malcolm had the opportunity to be shaped by them, as well.

To know them.

To love them.

I can only imagine the tremendous sense of loss that the families of the September 11th tragedies must have felt ... The events of that day were so unexpected. So unfair.

My own personal losses seem much smaller in comparison.

My Grampie and my husband's Grandma were old ... Even though we would have loved for them to remain with us for much longer, we knew their time was short. They had lived full lives.

My uncle, although he should have had many more years ahead of him, had cancer. He faded away slowly. Difficult as it was, we had time to adjust and say good-bye.

Even so, I wish with my whole heart that Malcolm could have known them, too ... That he could have seen them, been touched by them, kissed, cuddled, maybe even chased. That he could have been a part of that same family I had back in 2001, or 2006, or 2007.

That time would allow it.

But, like all else on this green planet, things change.

Families momentarily shrink, then grow larger again.

There is the sadness and grief of death, but also the euphoria that new life will bring. It is a cycle, and, like time, always moving from one stage to the next ...

On days like September 11th, it's easy to recognize that our time here is short.

You never know when tragedy (whether big or small) will strike.

So we must choose to make the best of life ... To take each day as a gift. To cherish each family member that is a current fixture in our lives. To recall the love of those that have already gone.

To remember.

I guess, then, while Malcolm may not have physically met my Grampie, or my husband's Grandma, or my uncle ... He will certainly get the chance know them. I can see to it. I can make it happen.

And even the passage of time and all its tricks can't change that.

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