It was a long time before I wanted to believe that I received any gifts worth keeping from this life I didn’t choose.
I knew I had tears, pain, agonizing sorrow, loss, heartache, dashed hopes, empty arms.
If I could give those back and regain my son, I would do it in less than a heartbeat.
I can’t, so I’m left here to ponder what else I’ve received from burying a child.
And I am learning that I have been given some gifts I truly cherish, although the price was higher than I would have willingly paid.
I call them grace gifts: heart-expanding, hope-enlarging.
I am learning compassion, which is something quite different than sympathy or pity which are just compassion’s paper stand-ins.
My heart is tuned to the suffering of others in a way I never knew before, even if their suffering is very different than my own.
I have been given new eyes for the people around me. I’m not as quick to decide I know someone’s story based on the clothes they wear or the car they drive.
I’m more patient with strugglers and stragglers although I am less patient with braggarts and bullies.
I’m more inclined to listen than I used to be.
My heart writes my “to do” list instead of my head-people over projects.
I love harder but more loosely than I did before. I’ve learned you can only hold on to this moment, this smile, this hug, and the rest is in God’s hands.
I am quicker to forgive-myself and others-because we are all failures in one sense or another.
I speak blessings aloud instead of simply in my head, too embarrassed lest anyone should laugh at such an archaic tradition.
I am learning to let go of my own and others’ expectations.
I shed tears when I need to, smile when I want to, belly laugh when I can.
I’m very much NOT the person I was before Dominic ran ahead to heaven-in many ways a sadder person.
But in many ways a wiser one as well.