The eyes are the keeper of the soul. Look into someone's eyes. Sit face to face, join hands, and in silence just look. You'll be amazed at what you see, what you find, how much you can learn about the fear, pain, joy, sorrow, and happiness they have experienced in their lifetime.
I was elected senior class president in high school. So the summer before, all the officers got to go to StuCo. camp. It was a great way to learn leadership roles, and how to be a better leader, activities to help get your school involved in pep assemblies and rally weeks, fundraising and community service ideas. It was a way to network with other student council groups from around the state. Rather then bunking up with your own classmates, they put you in rooms with different people. You were put into groups for activities and competitions, you were put with different people other then your classmates. At first, it was awkward, uncomfortable and I personally hated it. But then I started to embrace it. These people were awesome. They each had their own stories. They were people I probably would have never run into, or even thought of trying to strike up a conversation. This camp forced me from my comfort zone.
On one of the last days there, there was an activity they had everyone do. It sounded so silly when they started explaining it. Being it our first time at this camp, we all kind of laughed it off and just though ok we'll do it, the faster we get it over with the faster we get to go home. The whole camp (of about 200 or so students) split up into two groups. There was an outside circle and an inside circle. Each person was face to face. So basically you had a partner. You then joined hands and for 5 seconds you just looked into their eyes. At first I didn't see the big deal, thought this was corny and had no idea what kind of 'lesson' they were trying to teach. First person, we looked, 'switch' they said. The outside circle took a step to the left, the inside circle took a step to their left, therefore switching partners. Gazing into another persons eyes.. 5 seconds 'switch' again a new person. finally byt he fifth or sixth person, it started to sink it. It was my aha moment. You couldn't help but be tearful, you couldn't help but squeeze that strangers hand a little tighter, you couldn't help but to give them a hug before you switched partners again.
The eyes are the keeper. The eyes share a story. A silent story. In the tears that are shed, they are tears of a person's life. Memories they hold to their heart pouring from their tear ducts. As I gazed into each of these people's eyes, I saw that. I could see behind the facade of a happy person, there was hurt. Behind the smiles and the crazy clown kid, the pain. The trials and tribulations they have gone through. that person was equal..
And now, I think back to that moment and think about my silent story. In the days after Savanna died, I thought for sure I had a post-it note on my forward. I was the girl with the dead daughter walking around and everyone knew. Sure I had my share of crap growing up, who doesn't? There were times as a teen and young adult that I thought my life was crashing down around me. In my past relationship I was mentally and verbally abused... I had hit rock bottom.. But here I was years later.. walking around.. having just buried my 7.5 month old daughter. It's a different feeling then rock bottom. It's inexplicable pain, constant heartache. I wonder now, what kind of story do my eyes tell? Do they tell the story of a girl who had the 'perfect' life and then it all crashed down in an instant? Is it the story of the girl who was mentally and verbally beaten but came out on top? What kind of pain in my tears are there now? As I think about that.. i think about the stories of others. As I walk through wal-mart and I see the solemn faced woman, or the perfectly happy couple, the older couple holding hands, what are their stories? what kinds of memories, fears, thoughts and happiness do their eyes lock away? how many of these people have hidden compartments in their hearts of hurt they cling to. Grief they can't let go of. Pain that still hurts. Voided chambers in their heart left open.
These thoughts make me slow to judge someone else. Sure I get into my tyrants and judge away. But after Savanna passed.. I had a better understanding. I'm sure there were days that I was not presentable to the public.. I wonder what those people thought of me? So now when I see pictures of the family on the back of the windshield, or the in memory of stickers, or the carseat in the back, or the solemn faced couple walking through the store.. I no longer, or at least I try, not to make abrupt judgements and conclusions about that person. My hourney ahs been hard to get to where I have been.. it's been mixed with pure joy and happiness, tragedy and sorrow. Pain and hurt, love and compassion. No one else could have walked my journey, for it is my own. Just as I could not have traveled someone else's. We are each individual in our paths that we walk. The pathway has been paved with our specific footprints waiting for us to step through each barrier and trench.
The death of your child makes you, forces you to view the world differently. Makes you look at people differently. Pushes you to be different. This 'opportunity' is never taken with open arms and is always forced upon our laps.. As I have stubbornly and unwillfully accepted this fate.. I have found that people are who they are. Whether we agree with their choices, their beliefs or their decisions.. their path is still paved and they are taking the steps they were always meant to take. Their path is individualized for them. their DNA of life. So the next time someone is having a bad day, they are flying off the deep end, or the cashier at work doesn't smile as big as she usually does, think about their silent story. Look into their eyes and see what's on the other side. You'd be surprised.
Don't believe me? Just try it, you'll surprise even yourself.
Now, I wanted to open this up with questions. I have seen several other people do this on their blogs and thought it was a great idea. A way for you to learn more about me. So in a comment or email (email@example.com) or fb message (whatever you feel most comfortable with) ask me a question. It can be anything. It can be about Savanna or myself, about SIDS, or her death. About her life, or grief. ANYTHING! And after each post I will answer those questions.. leaving the person anonymous. I write on here as a way to get m y thoughts out there. aS a way to chronicle this path to remember there wer darker then dark moments but to also remember there ware good and happy moments. I never thought it would grow to the place it has become. I am so grateful for the constant love and support i feel from so many that read. Both family, and friends as well as strangers. So this 'interview' is for you. So the door is open and the canvas is blank... ask away!
Remember I'm raw and real and to the point--if i feel that a question is out of line i will say so.. but i will promise to keep all inquiries anonymous.