Monday, April 27, 2009

What Really Matters

What matters is not what life does to you, but rather what you do with what life does to you. ~Edgar Jackson

I have been a “quote collector” for as long as I can remember, even many years ago when I was in high school. I’m always on the look out for them…I write on slips of paper when I’m in my car and see interesting things on signs. I watch for them in magazines. Sometimes, I flip through books that are sent to me at the Share office before I even read the entire book just to read the quotes that are often at the beginning of each chapter. I have them tacked to the walls in my office and on papers folded in my wallet. Sometimes, when I find one that really inspires me, I have to write about it.

I found one such quote yesterday when I came across the one above in a book called “The Heart of Grief” by Thomas Attig. This book isn’t specifically about grieving the death of a baby; the main objective of the author is to show how the journey of grief can bring us to lasting love that honors those who have died while at the same time enriching our lives. Attig shares this in the preface: “We have no choice about whether we will grieve. The world changes irretrievably when those we love die. Respond we must. We only have a choice about what paths we walk in response. We will suffer no matter which paths we choose. When we walk paths toward lasting love and find it, its many rewards make the journey worthwhile.”

I haven’t read the entire book. Actually, I haven’t read much of it at all. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my office for quite a while, and I pick it up when I have a few minutes of free time because it’s not a book that is written in chronological order…you can skip around and read stories as you please.

When I read this quote, it really had an impact on me. I know at times it is easy to get bogged down in thinking about things that have happened that are out of your control that you can do nothing about. Nothing. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you want more than anything to do something about it. Life “does” a lot of things to all of us. A child dying is probably the ultimate horrible thing that life can do to anyone. We can’t do anything about that, no matter how much we get mad and yell and want to stomp our feet.

We can’t do anything except hopefully get to the point in our lives where we can say, “Okay, what can I do to not let this destroy me?” or “What good can eventually come from this terrible, tragic thing that life did to me without my consent?” And that is exactly what this quote reminds me of…making things better, making sweet lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. Perhaps you are only recently embarking on this journey of grieving the death of your precious baby and the very LAST thing you want anyone to tell you is that there will ever be any thing that is good or positive about the death of your baby. And I’m not telling you that, I promise. I’m not telling you that one day you will think it’s good that your baby died, because there is absolutely without a doubt nothing good about a baby dying. NOTHING.

What I am trying to tell you is that hopefully, someday, you will be able to look back and know that you did something good with what life did to you, that you did something with the love you have for your baby.

If you are so inclined, I’d love to read what you have done or someday dream of doing with what life did to you.

Wishing you peace and healing,


Nan said...

My grief is recent, but I am able to try and come above water and tread while I pay tribute to my triplet angels. I have created this blog for them and continue to do things to try and honor them.

Anonymous said...

Nan, I just read some of your blog. I'm so sorry that Shelby, Megan and Lynne are not where they should be...still with you. Your garden looks like it's going to be beautiful...that weeping cherry tree is such a perfect memorial to your daughters.

I hope you find much comfort and peace from sharing your journey on your blog. You said how people keep telling you to write write write...writing can be very healing, and I hope it is for you.

Nan said...

Hi Rose, thank you so much. Writing does help, and when I dont feel like talking to anyone, I think it aids in letting my friends and family members know what Im thinking and feeling. The girls are constantly on my mind, but I have learned through other women who have been through this that you never forget, you learn to live with it and integrate the babies into your life forever. Thanks for your support :) Nan

Gina said...

I am a quote person too! I have also experienced the loss of my daughter, on January 2nd 2009 at 18 weeks. It has been the most difficult experience of my life. I still get sad, but writing and talking about my experience has truly helped me. I feel that if people were open and honest about this it would help so many people.

I also have a blog at

Anonymous said...

Gina, I read some of your blog too, and I'm so sorry for your loss. And Lia Rose is such a beautiful name.
Welcome to Share, Nan and Gina.

Gina said...

Thanks Rose,
It is nice to know there are other people who feel the same. It is tough because so many women don't share their experiences.

Shelly said...

I found your blog through facebook. I'm also a quotes person, and I really like the Edgar Jackson one. I'm going to use it on my page that my husband and I started after losing our son JJ May 21, 2011 at 42 weeks. I also shared your blog on our page because I think it'll help others too. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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