None of us ever wants to experience death. In any form, it is a terrifying subject. The thought of ever losing a loved one can create such turmoil inside that we just draw the shades and keep busy. I did the same until I had to walk to the very edge with death. Holding my newborn daughter as she crossed over from life to death, screaming at my loss of control, of the inevitability of losing this precious little girl. Forever. Trying to choke down that moment; her touch, her hands, her tiny toes, for I would never see them again. My shade is no longer drawn because I saw it happen, I know it happens and will for all of us.
Fear of mortality can get us into all sorts of precarious situations. Denial for one, but more importantly a loss of presence. While I didn't used to, today I like slow days. I listen. I taste. I memorize all the ways my daughters moves, the way her hugs feel. Today I appreciate all my gifts; my family, my husband, my working legs. So much so that at times I feel I can't squeeze them into every moment enough. But then I remember to listen: to this moment and everything it gives me.
The idea that you should live every moment like it's your last, always seemed hokey to me. Now, however, I describe my life before Winnie and my life after Winnie. Before I thought I had a plan, and control over that plan. I know now that you never know what is around the next moment. All you have is this moment. The most important moment is now. So, what are you going to do?
As we approach Winnie's first birthday I think of life, not death. She brought us so much life. She taught us to listen, to move slower and to think about what is really important. I think of all the gifts she has given me. And of course, how much I miss her.