Kate was super excited to turn eight in April. Her most exciting decision was to be baptized. Her second-most exciting decision was to buy African aquatic frogs. She bought two with money from her Nana and Boppa and named them Rhino and Kenya. She has talked about them nearly every day, concerned that she's feeding them too little or too much, trying to figure out how to best care for them.
Tonight, she came running out, laughing at the funny thing one of her frogs was doing and begged us all to come take a look. When we went in, excited to see, we saw that one of the frogs was laying on its back, not moving. At all. Not even when we shook the tank.
It was hard to break the news to her. She sobbed in David's arms, filled with sadness and loss. As I took care of the little froggie body, I thought about how much I hate death and about painful it is to confront it in nearly any circumstance. I know it's part of the human experience. I know it's necessary. But I still hate it.
Thoughts about death have been skittering around the edge of my mind for a few days. I've been missing Brent even more because of recent family gatherings, and today marks the 11th-month anniversary of his loss. I remembered him quietly today, talked to him a little, pictured his smile, but somehow the death of this little tiny frog tonight made death too close again, made remembering Brent even more poignant, more painful.
Every death, even as insignificant as this little frog's, seems to now remind me of the life-bending lessons I learned too terribly eleven months ago: that life is fragile, that we are held here on the earth by just the thinnest of threads, and that those we love can be torn from us without warning. It's really kind of terrible.
And yet, there's that other lesson I learned, that, like C.S. Lewis said, "The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal." It is the deal. It's yin and yang. And I choose to feel happiness now, even knowing that loving deeply also allows me to feel deep pain. The risk is worth it.
I would, however, like to ask for a moratorium on loss for a while. A long while, maybe? Is that a fair request?