The death of my friend's son Walker allowed us to reconnect after years of only passing hellos. While it's not an ideal reason to find someone again in your life, she repeatedly spoke of how this tragedy showed her how much love there is for her in the world, how the support of all those people popping out of the woodwork helped her survive a situation that in many ways should not be survivable.

Today she posted a bit about Walker's passing on her own blog, speaking of the small blessings she discovered through this ordeal. What struck me though is the following:

It is a blessing that I went through the labor and birth without drugs (and it wasn’t easy - I had back labor and it lasted 32 hours), so that I was able to be present and aware with my baby and husband through the whole thing.

So often in this society we reach for the easy way out, thinking drugs are exactly that. In this case it would have cost her precious time with her son. I love how her homebirth afforded her the chance to be there with her family in awareness. But it's what she said after I shared with her my own personal struggle with making sense of his death that really helped me understand how remarkable she is. She replied with the following, which made me cry and reminded me again of how little I know about anything:

"...for me that isn't quite how it is - one foot in front of the other. I do look in the mirror each day and wonder at being alive. I feel the droplets of water on my skin as I shower (or the touch of my husband's hand on my face) even more poignantly. I laugh at funny things that happened in labor (like when I was on my hands and knees and discovered a lost sock under the couch) or even since Walker's passing (like breast pumping as we rolled down the freeway, hoping the trucker's couldn't see in the tinted windows). And then something reminds me of my small Bean and I cry or write him a little note or hold my husband close or just stop and feel. Grief is similar to labor. To me that means that there must be a prize at the other side."

Goodbye, Baby Walker. You changed our lives so completely in your short time topside. We will never, not for a moment, forget the gift of your life.

*quotes and links used with permission.