Most of the time, I use this little space on the web to point out stuff that is funny or ironic, but today is not one of those days. Because I can’t think about anything else to write about except for a life lesson that I had this week that came in the form of a friend whose funeral I attended. She was 38 and a mother of four when she died of breast cancer on July 26. This is her.
And I know what you are thinking. That woman is frigging gorgeous, and she is. This is a picture of her during her cancer treatment! And if you think this picture of her is gorgeous, you should see her heart. It’s infinitely more beautiful and longer lasting than this beautiful face.
But what is the lesson in all this for me? (Because this blog is all about me, of course.) Well. I used to be jealous of Bridgette. According to me, she had the perfect family, she made friends easily, she was beautiful, and an athlete and had the perfect body. I could go on, but I think you’re getting my drift. She was also married and had two kids. I wanted to be married and have two kids. She had the perfect life.
Then, a year later she got divorced. My first indicator of imperfection. And shortly after that she met a new love, also someone I knew and cared about. A quiet guy, who is so kind, and has the same laugh as my brother. And they blended their families to make three kids, and then had a baby to make four. She was back to great, and I was no longer as jealous, because I knew her better by then. I saw more of her pain, and more of her heart, which made her more wonderful to me which, ironically, made me less envious not more. She was not perfect, anymore. She was real.
Then, Bridgette got cancer which ate away at her like some sort of zombie terrorist for months. It didn’t seem to matter what kind of chemo or drugs were thrown at it, the cancer persisted until it had consumed the critical parts of her. The parts that let her breathe. And by Monday, we were all gathered to say goodbye to her and to weep for her husband and her children, who only have memories and photographs left of their mother.
And that same day, the day we all cried together, I got this in my inbox.
And it was a slap in the face. Because six years after I met Bridgette for the first time, I am married (or getting married at least). And I have two kids. And a perfect body, because that body is here for me to enjoy another day with everyone. And this isn’t so much about pointing out what I have now that she doesn’t, but to say that comparing is a waste of energy, a waste of the real opportunity to know ourselves, and mostly a waste of love.
If I had let my jealously get in the way of my love and admiration for Bridgette, I would have never come to know her as the beautiful person that she is. I would have robbed both of us of the love that we did have for each other, small that it is. I will miss her, but her life and her death have given me a gift. The opportunity to appreciate mine.
Thanks to tinybuddha.com for the slap in the face.
© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.