It’s a strange feeling when you are experiencing two different sides of the life cycle at once. Since May, my Dad has been battling lung cancer and a couple of weeks ago I learned that my husband and I are expecting a baby towards the end of July in 2013. Within a two year period, I lost my uncle to lung cancer and my paternal grandmother. They were both always present at Christmas up until they both got ill. A difficult lesson I learned in these past few years is how precious life truly is. We do not know how long the loved ones we treasure will be with us for. When ever my close family communicates now we do not hesitate to say “I love you” or offer each other our time and energy. My relationship with my sister has especially grown closer as we see the contradictions within our family unit. On one hand, my Dad is battling cancer, which is a very real threat to his survival, and on the other hand, a new life will be entering our family’s lives in the new year.
Cynthia who is younger than me by four years accompanied me earlier today to my first ultrasound. Until now the reality that I am growing a new life inside me felt very, very surreal. My pregnancy symptoms had me feeling a little tired, and my morning sickness would come and go. I had enough symptoms to tell that I am in fact pregnant, but they were mild enough that I have days where I feel pretty good. I had the chance to see my little peanut for the first time today. What I wonder the most right now is how I can love someone so much when I haven’t even met them yet? My heart feels stronger and more full of love than I have ever experienced before in my life. Along with the flooding of love came the feeling that my heart can also break more easily. It is that knowledge that as a mother I can only try my absolute best.
After the ultrasound, my sister and I returned to my parents’ place for a cup of tea as they wanted to know how the ultrasound went. The new life I am carrying on some level I think gives my Dad another reason to fight. A child’s little light can bring so much hope. When I taught elementary and secondary school I met kids who lived difficult lives or who had been through very traumatic experiences. Children and youth are very resilient as their minds adapt far better to a changing environment then adults do. What frightens me as a mother to be is the knowledge that we may not always be able to protect our children from danger. We can only try our absolute best.
The news played the stories from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th. The footage that I watched on the news left me choking back tears. Among the victims was Victoria Soto, a 27 year old teacher, who told the shooter that her first grade class was on the other side of the building to protect them. Rachel D’Avino, a 29 behavioural therapist, lost her life while she was shielding a student. Annie Marie Murphy, a 52 year old teacher, lost her life while trying to shield students from a barrage of bullets. One little girl in the first grade survived by pretending that she was already dead. She was the only survivor in her class. A massacre like this is something that one would picture in a war zone; not in an elementary school in one of the richest nations of the world.
Newtown is a small town, so if such senseless violence can occur there it really can occur any where. I heard hosts on The View debate about gun control laws, mental illness and violence, and how the media portrays violence along with how it desensitized society to it. Schools are supposed to be safe places for our children to learn. Perhaps the scariest thing as a mother to be is that there really are no safe places, and events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will be felt for a long time to come. Our world needs to change, so we can give our children the best chance that they will grow to be healthy adults.
Tonight when you say your prayers I hope that you will say one for those who are working to find solutions to prevent more senseless violence, comfort to those who grieve lost loved ones, and peace for the souls of those who lost their lives.