Clare Saumell VanderWeele

essays on living

Category: Gratitude

On Survival vs. Sacrifice

I was wrong. I sat down at my computer and wrote a blog post about being in the trenches, telling the world about the year that had felt chaotic. A year where I could barely catch my breath. A year where I believed I was in survival mode.

It wasn’t an unfounded belief. A lot happened. I screamed a baby into the world, I emptied my bank account into a new house, I coaxed my anxiety-ridden first grader into a new school, and I nursed a baby into healing after a host of afflictions ranging from a fractured skull to oxygen-starved lungs and buckets of snot and vomit. All that along with the usual craziness of balancing full time jobs with housework, cooking, family and friends, playtime with the boys, and much-needed sleep.

It felt like survival, but I had been prepared for that.

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The Forgotten Thank Yous

The only existing audio clip I have of Chris is from when he persuaded one of his best friends to try “Dave’s Gourmet” ghost pepper hot sauce. You can’t see him in the video, but you can hear his laughter and commentary in the background as his friend’s mouth burns – “It’s not unbearable… it’s just… it’s spicy,” says Chris.

And it makes my heart swell. To hear my husband’s voice again… There are no words.

It would have been a forgotten moment in a series of many, equally hilarious scenarios. It would have been altogether passed by, lost in the haste and spinning of our lives.

Except that death reminds us that life is composed of the small moments.

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