By now everyone has heard about the 2-year-old child who was attacked by an alligator at Disney World. There are several reasons why this hit me very hard and I can't stop thinking about it. First, I have a 2-year-old grandson and he's lively, inquisitive and loves playing in the water. Second, we just returned from Disney World. The thought of a happy toddler playing in the water and then disappearing from his father's sight is just too horrible to imagine, and yet it happened. In the blink of an eye that family's world turned upside down.
The world changed last week for my sister-in-law and her family. Tuesday was her birthday and her brother called and left her a message on her cell phone wishing her Happy Birthday, and then later that afternoon he fell over dead from a heart attack. He was only 55.
This morning a friend who is a grandmother was excited about her daughter making her a grandmother again. The baby was born and then her daughter started hemorrhaging. She had five surgeries and multiple transfusions and is now in ICU. What went from being a joyous occasion, almost turned into a tragedy, in the blink of an eye.
And this brings me to the point I want to make. I have a friend who is not allowed to see her grandchild. Every day she cries. Every day her heart aches. And why? Why do adults use children as pawns in grown up games?
I beg you, if you are reading this and you are involved in a family quarrel where someone isn't speaking to someone else, lay aside your differences and work it out. If you can't do it on your own, find a counselor or therapist to help. If you are keeping your child from seeing their grandparents, find a way to communicate with them that will include letting them see the child.
The older we get the more we realize that life really is short. Time passes so quickly and life can change in the blink of an eye. We all get up in the morning expecting a routine day, but sometimes it doesn't happen that way. Not for the father who lost his son. Not for my sister-in-law and her brother, and certainly not for all the people recently killed in mass shootings. The world is a crazy place. We can't count on tomorrow. The truth is random things happen every day.
If we had to say goodbye to someone tomorrow unexpectedly do we really want to be at odds with them? Losing a person you have shared memories with is hard enough without adding to it the regret of "I wish I had...."
Forget your pride. Reach out to them. Mend fences. Do whatever you have to do to make the world a little better, a little kinder place. We need more love, not less. We need more peace, less worry. And more laughter, less sadness.
And please, we need our grandchildren, for they are the sunshine of our souls.