Funny how when the dynamics of a relationship changes you find new meaning and hope. When Brittany was younger she struggled with her diseases and began to have bouts of depression. It was usually fueled by some event that had happened at school where she was either bullied or she had a seizure in front of her classmates. We found that her depression was because she did not feel accepted by her peers at school. I think for many reasons she was different, I’d prefer the term “unique” but truly she was different.
She was as genuine as anybody could be at her age. She always saw the good in people, even when they mistreated her. Sometimes I struggled with that, but of course, there was a life lesson to be learned from her. She was a teacher and she did not even know it. The roles somewhat reversed as she was teaching me about humanity, love and following Jesus. The bullying did bother her, I don’t want to mislead anyone about that, but she always found a way to rise above it. I think she truly hit her stride once she started high school. She evolved into this special, unique and quirky young woman that loved who she was. That did not happen over night. Brittany attended a very special camp over the summers throughout high-school until her death. Camp Oasis in Michigan for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis. It was a special place. A place where kids could be with other kids and feel “normal”. They learned many lessons over the many years but the one that profoundly changed my daughter’s life was that she learned that she was worthy. Worthy. Who would have thought a child did not feel worthy. I had some idea she wrestled with understanding why she had to go through these tough times. It was hard to watch sometimes as a parent, because you feel helpless and sometimes even hopeless.
But that camp was special. She met good friends, had good times and fell in love. It was the year between her junior and senior year and she was attending for the last time. She came home different. Very giddy so to speak and I came to know and learn about this special guy she fell for at camp. We met several times and I understood why she loved him. It was simple. He loved her. Many take that for granted, but she did not. This love changed her and in a good way.
When Brittany passed away during her senior year, this young man who loved my daughter, took it very hard. And we talked often about her death and why they were brought together even for a short time. I told him “you know why don’t you?” He’d say no and I’d say because it was her task to show him that HE was worthy of love. I think that resonated with him eventually. It took time. After ten years we still connect every now and again.
The lesson in all of this I hope to convey is that when you show kindness and offer love, people flourish. Even in the most difficult situations, people feel love and it is our task as human beings to extend love and kindness for there are many who do not know it. I imagine you come across people every day who are upon hard times or have suffered a loss of some type. Kindness and validation of the loss can be life changing. My daughter understood that. Now I understand that. I hope in some way my blog helps my readers to understand that. It’s the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. I learned it from my daughter. It was her greatest gift to me.
In these past few days since the mass shooting in Orlando the lesson in love and community couldn’t be more needed. I hope we take some time to share love, pray for the hurting and extend something we all have – time.
Until next time,
#grief #loss #tragedy #pray4orlando #onlychildloss