In my house, in my kitchen, on the dresser, there is a photograph. It is a photo given to me, of a group of friends and I, all dressed up, on a night away, a few short years ago.
Before Daniel got sick. Before that awful day when we heard he had leukemia. Before he had chemo. Before we knew a child could suffer so much pain. Before we knew all about bone marrow and blood donations, platelet counts, neutrophil counts and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Before he died.
As I look at that photo I remember a time when my friend, who is laughing happily, still had four children to hug and to hold. I look at it and remember how great life was, and what fun we all had. I look at our happy faces and think, “we had no idea what horror lay ahead”.
It reminds me of a time, before everything changed. As we posed for that picture, Daniel was living, enjoying life as only Danny could. As I look away, my eyes fall on another photo. It is a beautiful picture of young Daniel, swimming in the sea, head and shoulders above water, eyes shining, wearing a massive smile. Full of life.
Looking at those photos some days fills me with a sense of loss, and a incredible feeling of sadness for my friend. Yet I also look at that picture and it reminds me, what it is to live this life. Life is fragile. Today I have my husband and family around me. We are a complete photograph. Who knows what lies ahead, but tonight, as I type this, I know we are all together, and I take the time to appreciate, that for now life for us is good.
I hope, with all my heart, that our photo will remain complete for many, many years to come. Because who knows when it might be, that I will look at a family photo and think.. that was before.
So despite missing young Daniel, and feeling such sadness for my friend, the loss of Danny has taught me, not to worry about what lies ahead, but to enjoy every moment of every day.
No matter how bad the day, I am lucky. Very very lucky.