I never thought one of the happiest times of my life
and saddest times of my life would occur in the same year. I can almost dissect 2015 into half with the first half bringing much joy and the second half bearing down a tragedy that will wound my heart forever.
Even before the ball dropped at Times Square, I was grateful the New Year was the fulfillment of two wishes: My husband had just retired from a stressful job allowing us time to travel and do fun things together. My second wish to come true was when my daughter, her husband, and young son moved back to North Carolina from New York. After a 20-year absence, my daughter was home again! We had the pleasure of caring for our four-year-old grandson a few days each week while his parents worked. Gabriel filled our days with joy, laughter, active play, giggles, games, hugs and kisses.
Unfortunately, it was a short-lived joy. Gabriel was taken from us the first weekend of June. He died unexpectedly in his sleep a day after having a tonsillectomy. Yes, tragedy can strike in the midst of joy. My family is not alone. I know of others, like a good friend whose son, a police officer, died of an infectious bacteria six months after becoming a father. A relative whose mother died shortly before the birth of her grandson. A school friend of my daughter who died of complications from diabetes at a young age. The list could go on.
There is no answer to the why. I struggle with the realization that my grandson is gone forever, but I know I will see him again in eternity. Someday (not sure when), my tears will be washed away and replaced with smiles, savoring sweet memories of our little angel boy.
If there is one lesson I would like to share as a result of my loss, it is this: Consider each day you have with a loved one as a blessing, a gift. People are important; material things are not.