Just short of two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my mother. When I picked up, I heard her voice tremble and right away, I knew something had gone terribly wrong. My mind jumped to the different people that could have passed away--could it be my grandmother who I was supposed to visit the following weekend? I shook, terrified, as I waited for her to tell me.
Moments later I came crashing down to the ground in tears. Arthur, a fifteen year old that I babysit, died in a horrific accident. To say this felt--and continues to feel--impossible is an understatement. I don't know any fifteen year old quite like Arthur. This is a boy who loves freely and openly, who watches black and white movies by his own volition, who waits for his dad to come home to do math homework together, no matter how easy it is. A boy who asks me about my dreams and career path, who can't stand the idea of being inside when the sun is shining. Arthur is a fifteen year old who looks up to his uncle the way other fifteen year olds look up to celebrities on TV. A teenaged boy who gets along with and lifts up his younger sisters, unashamed and proud. For as long as I've known them, I've always told Arthur's parents how special their family is, and how I dream of raising kids half as wonderful as theirs.
I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that life can be this cruel. Seeing sweet Arthur in a casket, surrounded by wonderful people who love him, sucked out every ounce of hope I had in me. How are we supposed to move forward when everything feels broken and out of our control?
It has been fourteen days since Arthur's accident, and just five days since I came back home to Vermont. Already though, I feel my brain trying to compartmentalize it all. Our brains use their powerful armor to force us to carry on. But Arthur is really gone, and when I sit back and allow myself to let that sink in, I feel my world unravelling over and over again. There are certain hardships in life that you can't just turn into lessons and move on. So what now?
I don't believe in God, but I do have faith in nature and love. I read this post, and it resonated so deeply with me.
We're all fighting battles every day, going through the motions with thorns in our sides, and all we can do is try to allow this to make us more wholehearted. Vulnerability, no matter how painful and ugly, is the thread that connects us all. I hope that we can all recognize that suffering is relative, and everyone has, or will, feel hopeless at some point in their life. It is our duty as human beings to see the best in each other, to love and honor the flaws we all inevitably possess. The most heartbreaking moments in our lives, no matter how big or how small they may seem to anyone else, are what make us the beautiful, wholehearted people that we are.
Let's do our best to find the light within ourselves and to share the flame with others when they find themselves in the dark. For now, my flame is dimmer than usual, but every time I look up at the stars or listen to the birds sing, I feel Arthur's spirit gently inviting me into the light again.