"Go ahead, push your luck
Find out how much love the world can hold
Once upon a time I had control
And reined my soul in tight
Well the whole truth
It's like the story of a wave unfurled
But I held the evil of the world
So I stopped the tide
Froze it up from inside...." - After All, Dar Williams
It's funny how the universe sometimes pauses to answer your questions. As a new mama/heart attack survivor, I've tried to balance both realities and it's not particularly easy. I'm sure you've heard the frustration in my voice via past posts about life, death, normal and not so much. The month of August reminded me that everyone has a story to tell - and it's funny how sometimes, you hear those stories when you desperately need something better to believe in.
The story of secret helper #1: I signed up for CPR training. In hindsight, this was a horrible idea. But at the time the opportunity became available, I figured that since I'd already been certified once, I should just go ahead and renew. The first portion of training centered around what to do if you happen upon an unconscious person. Piece of cake! The second portion - all about cardiac emergencies. I made it about 30 seconds into the introductory video of sterotyped actors (old, overweight) telling fake stories about their heart attacks before I started to tear up and was forced to bolt. I had not expected to have such an emotional reaction to training, but it happened. Needless to say, I did not finish the training.
Later than afternoon, a visitor popped by to chat. This person found me quite brave for attending the training. BRAVE?! At this point, I felt like a total weenie. A corny Red Cross video caused me to run screaming in the opposite direction. As it turns out, this person had lost his wife to a heart attack a decade ago. After sharing the story of his own feelings of helplessness, he said two things that really resonated with me. First, he missed all the things his wife didn't have the chance to do/be/bring into the world. And second, a more palatable answer to why bad things happen to good people -because the world in which we live is an imperfect one. In order to be at peace, one must forgive the world for being imperfect.
Listening to him speak almost felt like a challenge....after all, I'm still here and his wife is not. So what things can I do to make the world feel less imperfect?
The story of secret helper #2: The following day, I had lunch with a woman whose grandchild came into the world shortly after Cameron. We were able to show off baby pictures to each other and swap stories. Inevitably, the conversation got to a point where I had to decide to talk about the heart attack or not, and since I'd see more of this person, I decided to share a little bit of my experience. As it turns out, she is involved with the local Go Red for Women movement and encouraged me to get in touch with this group to share my story. I had previously attempted to get involved with the American Heart Association, but didn't particularly feel "close" to the efforts. I hope I'll be able to share my story with this group and maybe, help save another woman's life.
The story of secret helper #3: Later on in that same week, I caught up with an old acquaintance who I'd met through work. Sixteen years ago, she adopted a baby girl after learning she wouldn't be able to get pregnant or carry a fetus to term. Though I know many people who've adopted or fostered a child, I've never spoken about the process parts with anyone. Prior to having Cameron, Brian and I had entertained the idea of perhaps one day becoming foster or adoptive parents, but had never considered the notion too seriously. Hearing her describe this act as the best thing she'd ever do with her life, I couldn't help but think that one day, when the time is right - this could be the way we complete our family. Cameron can't have a dog sibling forever (though Mowgli is an awesome big brother!).
There are times (VERY rarely) when I think it's good that all of this happened as it did. Because it's made me think much more about things I may never have considered otherwise. I've learned so much more about people who cross my path regularly and the complexities that life brings to us all. And I appreciate both!
"So go ahead, push your luck
Say what it is you gotta say to me
We will push on into that mystery
And it'll push right back
And there are worse things than that.......
'Cause when you live in a world
Well it gets into who you thought you'd be
And now I laugh at how the world changed me
I think life chose me after all" - After All, Dar Williams