Your life line runs from the edge of your palm, between your index finger and thumb, and curves down to your wrist. Mine is broken. Two distinct lines joined together with feathery strokes. That broken line has haunted me for much of my life.
I discovered it when I was about twelve. My father is deeply religious and my mother is deeply curious. My childhood home was full of books. Amidst the illustrated bibles, devotionals and C.S Lewis, there were books about Nostradamus, tarot cards and the paranormal. It was those books that held the promise of illicit knowledge and those were the books my twelve year old self would linger over. The Book of the Hand taught me about my broken life line and the threat of it stayed with me. It seemed inevitable that some terrible event would shape my future. There are some childhood ideas that cling. Memories and the memories of memory that stay with you. Even as my life progressed along a fortunate and predictable path, I never shook the feeling that Damocles sword was hanging precariously over my head. When all was well with my world, I would be anxious something would have to come undone. Joy came with a glance over my shoulder.
When my son died at only two weeks old, the tragedy I had been holding my breath for eventuated. My life shattered. Does the broken line on my hand signify Xavier’s death? I have no idea. But I now realise that it doesn’t matter. Life will happen, whether we are fearful or not. Terrible, beautiful, wonderful, crazy, amazing and mystifying things will happen. I can search for signs or try to peer into the future, but it won’t change anything or give me any power over things I cannot control. I have shaken the feeling that life is a balance sheet where the credits and debits must align. Some people have better fortune than others. Now when life is great I just enjoy that. I don’t imagine some phantom looking to extract payment for my happiness. And when things are not great, I have the knowledge that the future will be brighter. No one has a perfect life, but there are moments of perfection in each life. Those are things I hold to. Holding my two living boys, tickling them and hearing their boyish giggles. Catching my husband looking at me, when he thinks I haven’t noticed. Laughing with my friends until my belly hurts. Sewing with my mother. A movie with my sister. A perfect cup of coffee. The book I cannot put down. Sunshine days. Lying in the grass.
I promised to tell you what I have learned about life so far. So this is it. My future is not written in my hands. It is both in my hands and out of my hands. I can choose to seize adventure and opportunity. I can choose a path, even if I cannot know exactly where it leads. I can go ahead and do something scary without waiting for a sign. I can choose my attitude. I choose to embrace the future fully and without fear – the terrible and the beautiful things that will come my way.
I write about my grief and parenting after loss at Chasing His Sunshine.
If you have experienced the death of your child, or if you are supporting someone through the loss of their child, you might find comfort in the words there.
This post was in response to a writing prompt given in one of the Blog with Pip 2.0 lessons. It’s a fantastic course, aimed at those who have either completed Blog with Pip or already have solid blogging knowledge and experience.
I love Pip’s courses because they are full of real, soulful, practical advice.
You can check out Pip’s courses here.