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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sorrow in Summer

Spring has come. We've seen life renewing itself gloriously in brilliant blossoms, buds and blessings. As we begin the transition into summer, sorrow seems far away . . . until it lands on our doorsteps.

This past week, two dear friends have lost loved ones. For Marilyn, the loss of her husband and companion of more than sixty years is devastating. For Sam, the death of her father's second wife is almost like losing her mother again . . . for the second time in a handful of years. At a season when all seems bright and lush, both of these ladies are suffering and hurting from the pain of others they hold dear. It doesn't seem fair.

I know how it feels. Last month marked the twelfth anniversary of a wonderful-sad arrival, the birth of a beloved granddaughter. Some accident of conception had left her unprepared to live a "normal" life or, according to her doctors, to live at all, but she came into the world with a tough, determined spirit, outliving the doctors' predictions by several times in the first week of her life. Despite grim predictions, she grew stronger and came home to be with the family who loved her. I have a picture of her on my bedroom wall; she is the image of a happy, smiling, bright infant girl.

Allie lived three months. Her parents had done everything they could to make her life happy and comfortable and her doctors were becoming mildly encouraged about her odds. It seemed she was on the verge of overcoming every challenge of her birth. Her parents were cautiously predicting a normal life span. What went wrong was a complication no one knew about, something no one expected. We buried her on a warm July morning when the earth around her grave hummed with life.

It's because I know something of sorrow that my heart goes out to Marilyn and Sam and to all others, everywhere in the world, who are suffering loss. A second-hand acquaintance was among those injured during the terror attack in Belgium and my sympathy has gone out to those victims as well. Some days it almost hurts to see the earth so bursting with life.

Yet there are the other days as well, the days when I look at the beauty around me and feel nothing but gratitude. None of us comes with a "forever" guarantee stamped on our foreheads. With the blessing of our birth comes the certainty of our death. And in between we get to enjoy days as lovely as the one I revel in now. I look out on a world full of beauty and blossoms and know life is meant to be lived. My heart goes out to Marilyn and Sam and so many, many others. I hope they can soon see again the beauty of our world and this lovely, wonderful season.

Susan Aylworth is the author of 14 novels, all available as e-books. She loves her northern California home which she shares with her husband of 46 years and the two spoiled cats they serve. When she can't be with her seven children, seven great kids-in-law, and 25 grandbabies, she loves hanging with her fictional offspring, the children of her mind. She also loves hearing from readers. Visit her website at or find her @SusanAylworth, at, or on Pinterest. 

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