I don’t know if I believe in fate.
I’ve always said, up until now, that every decision or mistake I’ve made led me to where exactly where I was at that time. And until now, I’ve never regretted those decisions or mistakes. Bad decisions led me to heartbreak, which led me to Arizona, which led me to Eddie, who patched up my heart so thoroughly and carefully that you can’t even see the cracks anymore. I almost missed him completely and I never would have experienced what I have in the last seven years. I would have been none the wiser, though. I wouldn’t have known what I was missing.
About two years ago, I was on my way to work when another driver didn’t wait his turn at a four-way stop. So when we got on the freeway, he was in front of me. The car next to him went out of control, slamming into him and sending him rolling down the hill beside the freeway. If he had waited his turn, that would have been me. (For the record, he was fine. I stopped and was a witness. He decided to wear his seatbelt that day.) But because he was in a hurry, he found himself upside down on the side of the freeway – unscathed, but shaken up. I’m not at all suggesting that he deserved it, just that tiny decisions can lead to big outcomes. I wonder if he wonders what would have happened if he hadn’t gone ahead at that four-way stop?
Lately, fate has been a highly debated topic in my own mind. I am literally arguing with myself. Has this always been waiting for me? Did I make certain decisions throughout my life based on what was “supposed” to happen, or did those little steps determine what was going to happen? I’ve gone back to thinking of the younger me, as a little girl, completely oblivious to the way things would turn out. I thought I’d grow up. Check. Get married. Check. And have a baby before I was 25. Half-check.
Maybe when I was making all of these plans as a little girl, I should have been more specific.
If fate does exist, would I want to find a way to warn the former me? Would I say, “Something terrible is going to happen. And while you can’t prepare yourself now, you can certainly try.” Or would I tell myself to prevent it from happening in the first place? Would the former me, in all of my childhood naivety, even take myself seriously?
Or was all of this just one really awful event that just…happened? Just another (but major) event that was not the product of past decisions and will not have an impact on the future? No, it can’t be that. This most definitely changes the future. It changes everything. Even thoughout the plans we’ve made for moving, I keep thinking, “We are only moving because he’s not here. He’s not here. He’s not here. He’s not here, and so we are moving.” Across the country, as far away from the hallway he will never be crawling down as we can get. Far away from the way things could have been and almost were. But the fact that he’s gone means that he was also here.
While talking about this subject, a new friend of mine said, “I do believe that many of our actions strike a chord that will vibrate into the rest of our lives, affecting our other actions and outcomes. Yet so much of life is random too. … I do not believe our lives are micromanaged, nor that everything is caused by something else. Some things just are.” It’s true. Some things just are. Doesn’t make them fair, or right, or even okay. But questioning the existence of fate is one thing; trying to figure out a way to change was has already happened is a different monster entirely.
If someone is sick, there are usually options to create a better outcome. But death is final. The knowledge that death is final is always there, but you always forget how that feels until someone you love passes away. Even when Benjamin was born, even knowing that he was going to die, the feeling of finality didn’t set in. Even immediately following his death, he only looked like he was sleeping. I’d be holding him and talking to the nurse with my thumb caressing his cheek, forgetting for a second that he wasn’t there. That this was it. I don’t think it hit until a few hours later. It’s still hitting me. Usually when I’m out in public.
I guess what I’m trying to convey is that whether or not fate exists in some capacity – whether it’s set in stone, can be altered, or life is just a random hand of cards – there’s nothing you can do to change what has already happened. Death is final, but you have to live before you can die. And living is what it’s all about, right? Living means doing things, making things happen, having things happen to and around you, and knowing that when terrible things happen, your goal is to get to the other side of that terrible thing and figure out where to go from there. So that’s where we are right now. We’re on the other side of it, just trying to figure things out in a way that would make Benjamin proud.
He would have been one month old today. I miss him very deeply. Every single day I miss him, but especially today. Today is also Worldwide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Please remember Benjamin and all of the other babies that are now gone because they were here.
We’re packing the pod tonight and moving tomorrow. We are able to move because of the financial assistance we’ve received from family, close friends, new friends, and complete strangers. We are humbled and grateful.
Our Arizona friends held a car wash, Bubbles for Benjamin, earlier this month. As soon as I have some pictures of the event, I’ll write a post about it.