Does anybody think that their life would have been better off if instead of being raised by a mother they were raised completely by their dad? Let’s even up the ante a bit and consider a version of their dad that is super sad and a lot more negative? I doubt there is a single one of us (barring abusive situations) that would think this would be the better route. Yet this is JJ’s lot in life. I had this thought tonight as I struggled to calm him down at midnight and I have yet to recover. I’m even having thoughts of having one of his aunts or uncles adopt him as their own because he would be much better off. That would never be reality though for two selfish reasons. First, he is my connection to his mama who I miss so so deeply. Second I don’t want to be known as the deadbeat failure of a dad who couldn’t cut it despite there being single parents struggling and thriving everywhere. One day at a time.
Today was JJ’s three week birthday. It is amazing how time flies when...well how time flies. Twenty one days and nights without my beloved sweet sweets (I was her “bubby” and she was my “sweet sweets”). What the hell is this life with so much pain and suffering!? Tonight for the first time in three weeks I flipped on the news and the first story that came on was about how two of my former middle school students had been shot and killed. I remember registering the entire family when they moved into my school’s boundaries. The sister used to come to my office at least a few times a week to say hello and get some candy, now they are gone in a senseless act of violence. My heart and soul goes out to their family and friends, to their loving mom. How is someone supposed to love deeply and care about others and not get burned and jaded?
I wrote a letter to myself about trying to keep hope alive when life is overwhelming. I didn’t know I was writing it to myself at the time. Often I will write Letters to the editor about various issues and Sharry was always my expert co-writer and editor. So the Monday before JJ was born I submitted a letter to the Deseret News and they published it online the night Sharry died. I have different thoughts and viewpoints now but it’s interesting to hear a message from myself pre JJ. It reads:
The worst mass shooting in U.S. history, 12 months in a row that were the hottest months ever recorded through April, growing poverty, mistrust and bigotry all provide many reasons for despair. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and apathetic, yet we must not give up hope.
Confucius provides hope for times of despondency. “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” There are many ways we can do this. Be a voice and teacher of peace, understanding, acceptance and compassion. Reach out to those in need, whether with money and gifts or time, presence and kindness. Reduce our carbon footprint and demand climate and clean-air action from our local and national leaders for a brighter future.
If there is something in the world that outrages you, then join a group that fights to solve that problem; there is great power and hope found in numbers and community. Most importantly, it is critical that we choose to light our candle with action and love, dispelling the darkness of apathy, division and violence.
I don’t know if I can follow my own advice as I feel totally dark and my candle wick is used up. However I do have many friends and family who are full of light that I am depending on more than ever before and I cannot express how grateful I am to each and every one of them because as mentioned previously I am afraid of the dark.
Last thing for tonight (it’s 3:23 AM). I was backing up Sharry’s computer this afternoon and on the desktop I found a picture that I don’t remember seeing before and it was titled “loveofmylife,” she continues to melt my heart.