Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Train Wreck Theory (as I know it)

One of the blogs that I follow recently had an article published where the author of the blog talked about the high amount of traffic her blog received after her son was hospitalized. She spoke (respectfully and kindly) of how it is simply human nature for people to stop and look when they see a tragedy but she assumed that her readership would drop off as her reflections on her blog returned to her day-to-day meanderings.

As I read the words, I couldn't help but think of the blogs that I follow. Half of the them involve loss. 

So yes. I too, have succumbed to allure of the typical 'train wreck' observer. I have seen (read about) tragedies and I simply can't look away. Why? But more importantly, why am I still following these blogs four years after the loss? It is because of my dad ...

Dad suffered a massive heart attack and after fifteen minutes without oxygen to his brain, he was revived. If you had read about it in a newspaper, you would have walked away thinking that it was a miracle that he survived. If you were the person that was involved in saving his life, you may walk away feeling like a hero. If only that was the end of the story.

Dad's body survived. Yes. But we lost everything else that he was that fateful night. He continued to breathe for four years and eight months longer. He was hospitalized for the rest of his life. My mom was still married but she lost her husband. There was an entire story that followed that 'train wreck' of our lives.

Surviving loss comes in so very many forms. Death is final and there is no going back. There are so many more ways to lose a loved one. Debilitating health issues change a person and their relationships. Bankruptcy, job loss, retirement and/or career change. Divorce. Family dynamics may break down and you 'lose' a family member that is still living and breathing a life separate and apart from your own ...

'Train wrecks' derail our lives. But life goes on. What can be salvaged is put back onto the railroad tracks and carries on for the rest of its natural life.

My attention is drawn to those that survive and must carry on with some semblance of 'normal' in a what has now become a completely 'abnormal' life. I have learned so much from those brutally honest authors. I sit back on the sidelines and quietly cheer them onwards.

I may not be able to avert my eyes from the tragedy ... but it is the story of survival after the unthinkable happens that keeps me coming back. It is the story of the survivors that is what is most important after the fact.

It isn't about 'survival of the fittest' for me. It is about the 'survival of the survivors' ...

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