There are moments that change you; moments that make you stop and think.
This year, I know three people who have died before their time, and each of their deaths has effected me differently. However it has been the first one that has stuck with me.
She was a young mother. 32 with a three and a one year old. And she had breast cancer. It was discovered whilst pregnant with the second baby, and amazingly, she carried him healthy to term, and lived the first year of his life.
Sadly, a week later, she passed away suddenly in hospital, leaving a heartbroken husband, and two little boys with barely a clue.
I’ve been thinking of her this week. I’m not sure why, but I have. And I’ve been feeling guilty. Because the last time I saw her, I didn’t know what to say.
I didn’t know her well; she was a few years older than me at school, so we were never really friends. But I was pregnant with Ava at the same time that she was, and I knew of her plight.
I bumped into her one day at the shops, and I may not have even noticed, except that her darling little toddler pointed out we both had the same shirts, and she joked that maternity wear in Darwin was sadly lacking.
I smiled and joked back, but that was it. I never acknowledged I knew her. I never asked how she was. I was taken aback by the scarf on her head, and the boy by her side, so much like her in looks and temperament.
A little boy who now no longer has a mother.
Christmas is coming, and three families I know, will have their first ‘without.’ There will be a gap at their tables, and less presents under their tree. Holiday plans will change. Something will be missing.
And I can’t help but think, ‘what if it was my family? What if I wasn’t here?’
Who would make the turkey?
Who would wrap the presents?
Who would buy the presents?
And each time I think it, I am so grateful, that this is not a reality for us. We do not have to worry about this. I am healthy. My family is healthy. And barring a tragic accident, Christmas will be a crazy time of too many presents and too much food.
Today, I’m so thankful for life. Even when it is hard, and mundane, and so incredibly repetitive. Even when I would like to get off for a few minutes, and just take a break. Even when I’m tired and would like to sleep forever.
I’m thankful for it.
But more than that, I’m thankful for my faith, and thankful for hope. Because the three people I knew, that slipped away, passed into Heaven’s arms. They were beautiful, passionate Christians, and they are in a better place. Their families do not mourn like those who have know hope; this is not goodbye; it is a delayed, ‘see you soon.’
Life. Hope. Faith. Heaven.
It doesn’t get much better than that.