I lost a friend recently. He died. He was young. It should not have happened. I deal with death on a daily basis, but this was different. He had such a huge and positive impact on everyone around him. And there is just a huge gaping hole in the lives of everyone who knew him. I wish he had known the impact he had and just how irreplaceable he is.
I think for most people, losing someone you care about causes you to re-examine what you have. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day of our lives. The stress of jobs, paying bills, grumpy kids, the house that always needs cleaned, the laundry I just can’t keep up with. It’s too easy to let joy get lost in the shuffle.
During the past month there have been moments of intense sorrow. There has been anger. There has been fear. I have also seen people come together to help each other, to be there for each other. My husband and my son have been my anchor, reminding me that I have so much to be grateful for.
I am a veterinarian. I solve problems on a daily basis and sometimes lives do hang in the balance. I want to fix it all, and I struggle with the reality that I can’t always do that, no one can. Most of the time I make my peace with it. There are diseases and injuries that I can’t repair. Processes that I can’t stop. Sometimes all I can offer is a peaceful end. I am honored to be in the exam room when a family says good bye to the dog or cat they love. It is the last give the give to a beloved pet. A last act of love.
This is different. I don’t like situations where there really is no solution. There is no way to repair this loss, and I am still coming to terms with that. It’s too easy to look around and see all the negative in the world. It is everywhere. In order to get through a very difficult time I am forcing myself to look for the good. The world seems overwhelming, so I have been focusing on the joy in the day to day of my life. Looking at a typical day, I have been blessed. Here is what I hold on to.
- The laughter of my son. Seriously, is there anything better than the sound of a baby laughing?
- A big hug from my husband. He makes me laugh even when I feel like I don’t want to. And nothing is better than a great big hug from him. Watching John and Jack together makes my heart so happy.
- Rocking Jack to sleep. It is a brief pause in my day and the only time Jack holds still long enough to snuggle. That quiet moment where we rock in the nursery with the lights off as he finishes a bottle before going to bed. In that moment there is peace.
- What I do matters. Whether it is raising my son, helping a client and patient, or just being there for someone in need. The day to day of my life matters. I can’t solve all the world’s problems, but I can still make a difference in my own way.
- Have faith. I have had my days, especially over the last month, where life just seems really hard and makes me question everything. Deep in my heart though, I have faith. I believe in something/someone bigger than myself even if I don’t understand why things sometimes happen the way they do. I focus on what I can do and try to make a difference in my own way.
Focusing on good wherever I find it is helping my own heart heal. If you get one thing out of reading this I hope it is the absolute fact that you matter. Who you are and what you bring to the world makes a difference. The lessons I will carry forward from my friend are to laugh and to do what you love. Life is just too short for anything else.
Stephanie and her family moved to Indianapolis from Texas in 2015. She and her husband John have been happily married since 2010. They have a one year old son named Jack. They share their home with two dogs, Torchy and Rusty, and two cats, Timmy and Kit Kat. Stephanie has a BS in Animal Behavior from Southwestern University and a DVM from Texas A&M University. She is an associate veterinarian at VCA Animal Hospital o f Plainfield and has a special interest in veterinary behavior. Stephanie is passionate about being a wife, a mom, and a veterinarian. She loves spending time playing with her son, cooking with her husband, training and playing with their two dogs, and snuggling with her cats on the couch. When taking time for herself, she enjoys yoga, running, reading, and the occasional massage . The views expressed in this article are Stephanie's and do not necessarily reflect the views of her employer.