I'm not quite sure how it happened, but somehow I got to be the luckiest girl in the world.
You, known and unknown readers who follow this open and honest telling of the events of my life, might wonder how I can believe the above sentiment. Decidedly unlucky things have happened in my life. But I couldn't be more sincere when I say that I am simply blessed.
I'm lucky and blessed because a week ago I found a birthday card in my mailbox for my son Gabriel, who passed away nearly two years ago. That card had come from a woman in England who also lost her child to anencephaly. Somehow through the tragic and traumatic experience of losing our children, God found a way to bring us together from across the ocean, united in our grief and in our commitment to honor our children's memories.
I'm lucky because ten months ago I walked into the Law Offices of Mullen & Filippi, in need of a job and not in a position to be selective, knowing nothing about Worker's Compensation law except that it seemed like a dull area of practice compared to criminal. I was fortunate enough to not only get a job offer, but to quickly learn that I love my job. I thank God routinely from my office chair for that good fortune.
I'm lucky because I decided to celebrate my dead son's birthday this year, after being told last year by my son's father that a celebration was weird and morbid. I decided to do it up big, and I could not have asked for greater support or a better response than I've received. Birthday wishes, photos of friends and family in the t-shirts sold to raise funds for anencephaly research in Gabriel's honor, all littered my Facebook page on Gabriel's birthday. The day that can be so tough for many moms like me to get through hardly stood still long enough to let me grieve, because it was so filled with all of the reasons that I have to smile. How did I ever get so blessed as to have these people in my life? How is it that I've been so incredibly fortunate?
In the past year, I lost love. I lost the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with after he signed our divorce papers, packed up his belongings, and moved across the country. And I felt like I'd lost my whole world. Soon, though, my heart was beating again with that unmistakable feeling, falling harder and faster and still tentatively and nervously, but always with a fervent belief that I had found everything I wanted. That love was met with the dull sting of nonreciprocity; still, it gave me hope - Hope that someday he'll change his mind, hope that if he doesn't I'll find that feeling again, hope that someday someone will love me like I love them and like I want to be loved in return. I have an irrational, dangerous, abiding, relentless hope in even the most hopeless of things and it's a hard way to live - but the only way I know how.
I'm lucky because my life is full - of hope, of love, of family, of friends, with the clicking of eight paws with long claws, with the memory of my beautiful baby boy. My life is fruitful. It has purpose, though I frequently struggle to understand what that purpose is.
Two years ago, that blueberry bush that I had written off proved me wrong, and that baby boy that the world called "incompatible with life" flourished beyond anyone's expectations. And I, I have walked a treacherous road through the heart of make-it-or break it moments - the assault over a decade ago, Sean's death, Gabriel's death, a divorce - and I made it. I am full and I am blessed because from the rain and storm sometimes we find rainbows. And sometimes, we find blueberries.