I wrote this post long before we learned of Robin Williams’ suicide. It has nothing to do with him, yet it’s somehow relevant because as I watched social media explode with both shocking sadness over his death and joyous tributes to his life, I experienced – once again – the power of the shared experience and our limitless capacity to help one another make sense of joy and tragedy.
In one day, I heard from one friend who had emergency surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy and saw photos of another friend’s gender reveal cake on Facebook. (It’s a girl!) A few years ago, I experienced a similar onslaught of contrary news when one friend lost her young daughter to brain cancer on the same day as another friend gave birth to healthy baby girl.
Even further back, I remember the day my sister called to tell me she was pregnant with her second child. At the time, I was in the middle of weekly chemotherapy injections following my molar pregnancy. It’s hard to encapsulate the simultaneous feelings of joy, sorrow, hope, and despair I felt during that conversation, but I also know her good news was as difficult for her to share as it was for me to hear.
It’s frightening to think about the infinite beginnings, middles, and endings that are possible in motherhood (and in life), especially when the farthest ends of the good and bad news spectrum collide so often. I have nothing clever to say about any it, except that all of it reaffirms my belief in the power of the shared experience and our limitless capacity to help one another endure the heartbreaks, revel in the miracles, and carry the weight of it all in between.
4 responses to “The Weight Of It All”
Just perfect. Just what I needed to hear too. I, too, have been very upset about this suicide, particularly as I believe he was an aspie and I always hear these awful statistics (right or not.,..) and they scare the heck out of me. Thanks so much for this life-affirming, community-celebrating, comforting post.
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Sadly I seem to have more acquaintances who have killed themselves than died of natural causes. Hard to make sense of it when others are fighting for their lives.
I felt so sad when I first heard the news, but then a creeping anger began to grow… exactly the same feelings emerged with the death of Amy Winehouse. These people are talented, loved all around the world, and have so much going for them. They lead privilaged lives. I find it hard to follow my own advice about not judging others, but then I look at my little daughter, who SUFFERS with a rare syndrome, and who fights bravely every day to cling onto the meagre scrap of life she has been given, and I find it hard to quell my ugly feelings. She doesnt give in. She doesnt feel sorry for herself. She is not overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness. I try really hard to be sympathetic to these people, but I still feel more sad for the loved ones they’ve left behind, and for children like my daughter.