Everything I have learned about how to respect humanity and deal with life comes back to my mom. I am incredibly lucky. Although we didn’t have much from a material point of view, we had tremendous love and joy in our house that has resonated with both my brother and myself. We were both blessed beyond comparison to not only have discussed the values of life but to also have seen them demonstrated and exemplified throughout our childhoods.
I have a lot of stories from the trailer park days and a few have to do with murder or close calls. My mom dealt with these occurrences with grace and composure beyond anyone I have ever seen. These stories could easily have inflicted trauma in my life, but instead they are moments where I can reflect on how I should lead my life. We define how we view the events in our lives, the impact they have on us and how we will continue to structure our future.
So here’s the story with very basic details for brevity. I think I was around 7 when this happened, as the memory is fuzzy but parts are very clear. My mom worked in the evening, so I would spend the nights at either my grandma’s or aunt’s house. In the course of one of these evenings, there was a murder directly in front of my infamous trailer. I don’t know the details, but I do know when I came home there was a huge pool of blood on the street that led up to our driveway. I slightly noticed it but I wasn’t sure what to make of it when we returned. I can’t recall the time of year, but I do remember our two dogs got out and immediately ran to the blood and started licking it. The thought of this makes my stomach sink to this day. What I do remember as clear as day is my mom calmly collecting the dogs and putting them in the house. She then gathered some cat litter and poured it over the blood to soak it up and went out some unknown time later swept it up. She did this without a flinch, a sense of fear or any hesitancy.
She was brave and she made our lives normal. We discussed the events briefly and that was it. I do know I could not ride my big wheel any where near that blood soaked stain in the road for years to come.
I am currently reading the book The Choice by Edith Eger. The story and the message profoundly resonate with me and the choices around how I choose to live. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“Our painful experiences aren’t a liability—they’re a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and our strength.”
I always compare and contrast how this experience may have shaped me in an entirely different way. The way my mom reacted taught me courage and the ability to see the world how I choose. We are not a result of our circumstances, either good or bad, but rather a result of how we choose to navigate our circumstances. The events of my life are an incredible gift. They have taught me compassion, perseverance, and that a little cat litter can clean up anything.
How do you choose to handle the events of your life? Any thoughts, tips or shared experience?