Monday, June 30, 2008

A Lasting Change

Lauren, my "lily," holding her flower from the Camille's casket spray

Today was my first morning not waking up thinking about Camille.  That is probably because I woke up to my husband telling me that I was needed to change Lauren's poopy underwear.  Somehow this takes precedence over grief in the human psyche.  It was a full 10 minutes before I thought of Camille.  

This kind of reminded me of 9/11.  I remember waking to my husband's phone call telling me that he was on his way home from work and to go turn on the TV.  Sabrina was 3 months old at the time.  I sat in front of the TV with her in my arms, my jaw open, tears streaming down my face.  I thought of all those mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters that went to work that day and just were not coming home.  Then, Sabrina made a mess in her diaper.  Here these people were dying as I was watching and I had to change a dirty diaper.  Dirty diapers do not stop just because tragedy occurs.  

I remember after 9/11 how close I felt to my neighbors.  How invested I felt in our nation.  It didn't matter what political party you were or where you stood on Health Care or Abortion.  We were truly ONE Nation.  There were flags everywhere.  People talked to each other more in the grocery store and on the street.  I loved that feeling and wished it would stay.  But human nature won out and here we are 7 years later divided again.

This tragedy in our family has had that same unifying effect.  My family, in particular, feels more unified that we ever have before. (I think the Waite family already felt unified).  We Harris crew, on the other hand, are a family of strong personalities and differing opinions and points of view.  We are not afraid to voice them.  We are also a family of deep emotions.  Many times our emotions run so deep we avoid facing them afraid of losing it.  In this situation, I did not know how my siblings would react. 

React they did.  They all dropped what they were doing and came to my side.  Within 24 hours all my siblings and all their spouses except one in Texas and all the local Waite family were gathered in our hospital room.  My siblings surrounded me in love and strength and faith. Bridges I thought had been burned were suddenly anchors of strength.  That unity has continued still.  

My sister giving me support at the graveside.

I felt an outpouring of love and unity in my church congregation.  I have felt that unity of love from the comments on this blog.  I have felt a greater sense of peace and purpose in our little family.  I have felt an increased love for all people.  I have a greater sensitivity to how we treat our fellow human beings. It has been a wonderful byproduct of terribly difficult time.  I want this to be a lasting change.  

I know our little family has experienced a lasting change.  Camille's absence is a daily reminder of this change.  I know I will be forever different.  But I want to keep the feeling of love I feel for all mankind in my heart.  I don't want to let the dirty diapers of life to distract me from my true purpose.  I want to keep the fires of love burning bright between my family members and friends.  I want the change everyone feels as they enter this bubble of my world right now to be lasting.  I don't want the bubble to pop but I also want to LIVE in the real world and be present and alive for my children and for Camille's sake.  

My brother rubbing my back.  
Me running my fingers through Lauren's hair

Oh remember remember ... 
Remember and Feel the Chain of Love