Finding the “Gift of Life”

The hat I’m wearing in the picture is one I bought shortly after I found Adam, a toddler in his crib, purple and lifeless and close to dead. It says, “Life is Good,” and I wore it all the time … maybe to remind myself how lucky I was … or perhaps to admonish him … Interestingly, it would not be until many years later, after he died as a teenager, that I truly understood, felt, and knew it – Life is good. … Today I’m teasing you with a passage from my book, Not to Spoil the Ending… but everything is going to be ok  to highlight how it happened…

“I believe that from the beginning Adam was with me encouraging my awareness. For a mom, shrouded in grief, fully distracted in my misery, and utterly consumed with trying to keep life going, he needed to be perseverant and make his communication obvious. 

One instance of this was critical. I was on the train riding back from the city one day and noticed everyone staring down at their phones. Inspired to engage my brain more productively, I took out a book. A best seller from the 90’s, it was about a woman’s near-death experience, detailing her visions and perceptions of the afterlife. Early on, she shares a memory of a separate near-death experience from her childhood, which includes a loving, tender, heavenly father holding and comforting her as she lies dying from a terrible illness in an orphanage. As I read her recollection, I was suddenly struck by the fact that Adam too had nearly died when he was just a toddler.

The memories of that day 16 years before flooded back to me on the train. Sitting there, my eyes filled with tears as the details of this woman’s account connected to Adam. I considered for the first time that perhaps he too had an experience during that first crisis. I had never fathomed it – a toddler’s near-death experience? He was so little. I always assumed too small to remember. Was it possible that Adam had felt loving arms or even wished he could remain there? Did he share a similar story? Could it all be connected? Had he experienced something in those brink of death moments as a toddler? Had he come back against his will, or just struggled to transition back to this life after experiencing the beauty of the next? Did he know something? Even subconsciously? Was it possible Adam had engaged in some sort of Divine negotiations, that in his willingness to come back, for whatever reason, whatever purpose, he brokered a shorter stay? I’d never understood what made me turn around mid-stairwell and go back up to him that day. If I hadn’t, he would have been lost as an infant. Was there something to that? A reason? A purpose?

In this lifetime, of course, I’ll never have those answers. But something powerful occurred in a moment that changed my perspective completely forever. Suddenly, I was inspired by the idea that perhaps Adam’s life was not cut short at all…

Instead, maybe all those years before it had actually been extended, and a child about to be taken was given more time. … Maybe friends he’d not yet met would have access to rich blessings of his kindness, love, and laughter. … Perhaps a little brother would come to be born and have the much-needed experience of getting punched around, teased and loved, rather than maybe never being born at all or learning of some phantom older brother through his mother’s brokenness, pictures of the child who had died, sad stories, or some sort of shrine. Maybe siblings would have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships, memories, and love, instead of merely holding onto faint faded images of the baby that died. … Perhaps his parents, instead of a marriage broken in despair, might be given 14 precious years to grow and mature from the experiences of knowing and raising him, build memories, make prank phone calls, love and be loved deeply and differently…

The curse of a life stolen young was suddenly transformed, in the instant spark of one thought, into the blessing of the gift of life.”

And four years later, I can point to that as the most important thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you, Adam!


Today’s post was adapted from a passage in my book. If you enjoyed it, why not pass these long dark cold winter days with some warm inspirational light! Get your copy of  Not to Spoil the Ending… but everything is going to be ok  here!

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