Thankful for the Gift of Life
by Melissa Martin

I take frequent walks in the cemetery nearby to my house. The decorated graves of deceased children always grab my attention; angel and teddy bear statues, figurines of lambs, and infant ornaments. Being a mother, I try to embrace their grief but I cannot fathom it. Instead, I embrace the precious gift of life via my daughter. I am thankful for the gift of life.

Driving past the cemetery on my commute to work, I glimpse a gray-haired gentleman at the monument company across the street. Hunched over, he is starring at a large colored tombstone. He is shopping for a grave marker. For just a few seconds, I embraced his pain of loss. I am thankful for the gift of life.

Working in a hospital, I went to see a patient in the emergency room. Chaos is stopped. I'm confused. I've never seen the ER silent and motionless. All staff eyes are intensely starring at a bed in view of the nursing station. Like a thick fog, tension hangs and permeates the space. The moment is surreal. Two doctors, one on each side of the bed, are fervently trying to save a patient. She is a six-week old infant girl. I return to my office overwhelmed. Later, I find out she died. I embraced the collective pain of the ER staff. I am thankful for the gift of life.

Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.

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