The First Day

Yesterday morning, a young woman was killed in a head-on collision in Jacksonville. This young woman’s parents are friends of my mom’s and of ours – in fact, they had dinner at our home just a couple of weeks ago. I cannot imagine the immensity of their grief.

The news made me think about the day my father died, and I remembered something I hadn’t thought of in years. I remember not wanting to go to sleep that night, fighting to keep my eyes open.

That day, the day he died, was also a day in which he lived. He breathed. His heart beat. For me to go to sleep, to end the day, was to bring about the The First Day Without Him. The first day in which he did not live. The first day that the world began to move forward without him in it.

But I lost my fight with sleep that night, and the world has moved on.

When the doctor handed Hazel to me, I marveled at her fragile little body. With each growth spurt and milestone, I feel that she is a little safer. Tiny infants are so vulnerable, and the threats to their health and safety seem numerous. At least Hazel can express her needs now, I think. At least she can let me know when she gets boo-boos.

But yesterday’s accident reminded me that our children are never, never truly safe. Rather than let that anxiety consume me, I have to trust that statistics are on my side and – more likely than not – my babies will be OK.

Yesterday it was difficult to keep the panic at bay. I hugged my kids extra hard, and told them I loved them.

That’s all you can do, in the end.



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