Sometimes Life’s lessons are subtle and elusive. Other times, they’re less so.
In mid-March, my granddaughter arrived “in the usual way”, big dark eyes and a head full of dark hair that had all the nurses exclaiming. My stepson was beside himself with joy and tenderness. My wife’s feelings radiated from her face like a beacon. That was Thursday night. On Monday, the new parents brought the baby to St. Johns Hospital to visit Grampa, who was failing, and in and out of awareness. Grampa was able to sit up and hold his great-granddaughter. “Sweet baby!” he murmured repeatedly, smiling down at her.
The next day, Grampa returned to his assisted living apartment under a hospice arrangement. The last weekend of March saw my wife and I camped at his bedside from Friday on. Relatives came and went, and as the significance of the moment registered, I expressed my feelings in poetry. Monday morning he slipped away. The funeral was three days later.
In each case, I was reminded of the majesty and grandeur of Life’s primal events; of how great is the illusion of human control over the most important matters of our lives. I wondered at the ability of a tiny baby to cement two young people together, and suddenly found myself thinking how insane is the notion that anything could ever separate her parents. Yet, as a divorce lawyer, I see it every day. And I was humbled once again recalling my clients who reconnected with the joy of their children’s births at the same time they were witnessing the death of their marriages; who saved what they could and grieved the loss of what they couldn’t. Occasionally, I hear from them, reporting that the Great Wheel of Life did, in fact, continue to turn; that sometimes the lessons they learned were not realized until months or even years later. It made them, they report, much more sensitive to the teachings of any given moment. It made them participants, rather than mere spectators, in their own lives. It made them think.
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