Life’s classroom


As I am cramming to finish my new designs, I flipped the television on.  The last thing I had watched was “Frasier”, so it was on Hallmark Channel.    I wasn’t paying much attention at first, if you’ve ever watched Hallmark movies you know they are heartfelt, sort of sappy, etc.  Because I needed a diversion from the obsessing I was doing on my paintings I started to listen.

Now lets back up three days ago.  Lilly and I were out cruising around on a back road, one of our favorite things to do.  It makes me smile to see her stretched out with her nose out the window.  My little bear cub.  I smiled as I noticed how content she was, how happy she was.    Not to dwell on loss, but I had thought after Brody passed that I should give her to someone who has another dog.  She was so distraught, withdrawn, sad for months.   It was so sad.   Well, as I watched her in the back seat of the jeep, my mind thought about how grateful I was that I didn’t give her away.   She has had a lot of trauma in her short little life.  I didn’t want to abandon her, too.   Further reflection I realized, it wasn’t really about HER pain that wanted me to let her go, but more about MY pain.  I was already in pain, and seeing her like that was a constant reminder.

Back to Hallmark, in this movie a couple lost their young daughter to a wreck.   As my mind wandered I have always been surprised that the divorce statistics for couples who have lost children are very high.  How could that be?  How could they have brought this beautiful being into the world, lost her, and turn away from each other?  Well, I thought about my feelings towards Lilly’s pain.  A constant reminder.  It was awful to see her in such pain, and because of my own, I didn’t feel like I was comforting her.   I wonder, is this why many couples lose each other after the loss of a child?

I shrugged my shoulders, surrendering to the past thoughts that I didn’t understand it, nor do I still.   There are high statistics that men leave their spouses, even with longevity of marriage under their belts, they choose to leave when the woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.   Wow.  I was dumped by a guy I was dating one week after I had my first cancer surgery.  I remembered telling my oncologist at Mass. General Hospital and she told me “Sadly, Donna, it is not uncommon”.

Returning mentally to painting, I acknowledged one of the many mysteries of life.    Always a classroom, I have looked at life often as a 50 piece puzzle.  Initially we may get 10-15 pieces, more or less, to the puzzle, over time we may gain more as we travel the road of life.  Sometimes, a rarity, we understand after some time why things happened the way they did, but I believe the majority of the time we will go to our graves not having all pieces to the puzzle.  This is where faith comes in.  Many think we will learn the “why’s” as we meet our maker…. me?  I guess I feel that way, too.


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