Several weeks ago, I don't remember how, I came across some photos of the cutest little girl. I browsed through them and marveled at her beautiful eyes and the sheer joy that shone from them. I thought her parents must be very blessed to have such a happy child.
Then, this week I came upon her mother's blog, The Spohrs Are Multiplying, and realized I had found her again.
In just a few short minutes, I went from delighted to see that sweet face to horrified to find that she had recently passed away.
I read each post, from the time of her sudden illness to the most recent, and wept over her family's unbearable pain.
I hope I never know the excruciating feeling of living life without a child that was once such a tremendous blessing.
I do know the pain of suddenly losing my own father in a tragic accident and the shock that follows. I know the bewilderment of knowing that he just walked out the door, healthy and whole, and never came back.
I think anyone who has been through something like that has an awareness that most people don't have. We know the altogether tragic and beautiful secret that life, every day, every moment, is a tender, fragile gift.
I am in no way trying to say, "See? There's a silver lining, so cheer up!" Just that if any good can come out of tragedy, it is to remember to cherish the time we are given with our loved ones.
When I occasionally hear a mother lament that she can not WAIT until her toddler is potty trained or her preschooler can tie his own shoes or her teen is grown, I secretly think, "But what if today is the last day you ever get to tie his shoes or change her diaper? Would you be wishing away this time if these were the last moments you would ever have?"
When I wrote this post about my husband and children being stranded out of cell phone range and waiting for a tow truck while I was at home wondering if they were alive or dead, I got a comment or two about how I shouldn't worry about such things.
But I know all too well that life is fragile. Each one of us may be only a breath away from eternity. Or from any of our loved ones entering into eternity.
Every day, every moment is precious. We do not know which day will be the last day we have to love.