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My Heart Goes On…

December 15, 2012

Social Commentary

Most of us humans have children of our own, but even if we didn’t procreate for whatever reason, surely we have all loved a child – a niece or nephew, a friend or neighbor’s little one… and failing that, at least we were all actually children once ourselves, right?

For those of us who wanted to have children and were lucky enough to be blessed with one (or more), you very quickly learn that your heart lives outside your body in a very real way.

My child’s pain is mirrored my own biological response.  A deep chest cough from her tiny lungs makes me cringe.  Her tears nearly prevent me from rational thought.  Her discomfort causes a panic attack at my inability to make her feel better.

I see the Facebook pages, the websites, and stories about those critically ill children who don’t make it.  Sometimes I expose myself to it, but mostly I turn away… I can’t bear to look the possibilities in the face… I can’t just say “there but for Grace go I” and get through the day… the prospect is too real… I have to bury my head in metaphorical sand and believe “it can’t happen to me; and if I don’t look it directly in the eyes, it will go away.”

It is a scary, frightening and surreal experience to realize that you care for someone outside of yourself, more than your own life by far, yet strangely, still a part of your own survival mechanism.

I explain my narcissistic selfishness in this way:   I am still primarily concerned with my own creature comforts in the same way my pre-parent self was– but my “self” now wanders around in the world in another body.  My deep love and concern for my child is a direct reflection on my will to live because without her I would die.

I look my child in the eyes… every day, and I literally ache at her beauty and am weak in the knees by how much I love her.

My fierce need to protect her – from everything in my power – and of course, I realize not everything is in my control – is literally running neck and neck with my biological organism’s will to live.  She dies.  I die.  It’s that simple.

I look at the tragedy in Connecticut today, and realize that I have not responded to a national tragedy in this way since September 11th, 2001.  A lot of horrible things have happened to people since then, probably many things that should have fired up my soul, but today, for whatever reason, there is a fork in the road… and I am having a hard time getting on with my life.  My empathy, my sorrow, my nearly debilitating grief is with those poor families who lost their babies, friends and family today… a typical Friday, a school day… ten days before Christmas…

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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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