• the New Normal: some reflections

    In March this year, the unimaginable happened. My youngest son at 17 months drowned in my cousin’s pool next door. It was any mother’s nightmare. When I first saw his lifeless body, eyes open but not seeing, body limp and rigid as my cousin tried in vain to bring the water out and breath back into him some air and life, I felt like I was on the outside of my body watching it all in slow motion. 

    A small voice said gently at first then vigourously, “He is gone. Babies drown quickly. He is gone” 

    David was the youngest of four after two boys and our only girl. The only one with a palagi name, literally the fairest of the four and brought joy to his family as he flourished to establish his self, his personality and his person. A normal baby boy to a normal family on a normal Tuesday in normal Apia Samoa. Normal. How little I had understood then of the normal.

    After one small event, huge impact on “the normal”. On that normal day in the course of our normal lives, one event changed that normal from four to three, then and now, unlearned to learned, unknowing to knowing, before David and after David. A huge impact that has defined our whole lives to the “before David died” “oh, it was after the funeral because…” The new normal.

    What is the new normal? Personally, after Davids death, its mostly between the unknown and the now known. For example. I never knew so many people cared for us until the day we buried our baby. Our home at Tuaefu was full and bursting with family, relatives, helpers, colleagues, acquaintances probably even some previously perceived as foes. Those overseas were on facebook, texting and calling. All expressing love and support as we lived through the aftermath of our son’s death.

    A single event brought so many people with common and different interests alike, together.

    It was amazing to say the least.

    It was also an opportunity for some real self reflection, on my part at least. I have my faith at my core and it’s sustained me and kept me strong in every sense of the word. I am strong. But……. I am not always strong. I replay the events of that Tuesday and sometimes wonder, was it something I did wrong? Was there something I could have changed? Was I warned that this was coming? Was there anything that I could control that could allow me to know the unknown?

    After many tears and emotions like guilt, anger and regret threatening to consume me, I suddenly realized something: As much as I think I have supernatural powers, I don’t. I am human, yes I can do wonders, but like you and all of us, there are limitations to our wonders. There is no way I could have avoided what happened because, someone else holds the control key.

    A Book of Mormon story illustrates this very principal nicely. Korihor, the antichrist, preached using flattery. You know, telling humans they were wondrous and great, possibly supernatural. I don’t know. But Korihor became popular with many followers believing that they had many wondrous powers that they don’t need a God. Korihor preached that the idea of a higher being or a God overseeing all that is happening is absurd. He ridiculed Christ and the Atonement, and taught that there is no penalty in sin. Flattery. So easy to do, so damaging. Because eventually, Korihor got struck dumb, was trodden down and died. After he admitted that he was influenced to say all these things when he knew he was lying.

    Yup, so as much as the Korihor in me wanted to let me know that it was somehow, somewhere it was my fault, I had to accept that I am not that powerful. I am human, wondrous as can be, but, with limitations.

    I realised the adversary uses these types of opportunities to influence some into thinking they are more powerful than they think. Let me ask you, do you get flattered into thinking you dont have limitations as a human? 

    So many have commented on how strong I am. But its funny that when someone pays a comment like such, I hesitate and wonder, am I strong? I don’t wake up every morning, look in the mirror and say, I am strong. Its so weird but sometimes, when someone mentions how strong I am, I instantly feel like I should be sad because my baby son drowned. Because its what happens when someone dies, right? We are supposed to be sad ALL the TIME. Wrong. We get sad sometimes but most times, I am happy. So much of what happens in our lives and our society prescribes defaults that can be dead wrong. I have to remind myself that I am not always sad and its not bad to not always be sad. 

    I have faith, I have hope, I believe and I know in my bones, this cannot be IT. We cant just have this beautiful relationship with each other on earth, then we die and all else ends. As wonderous as we are humans, we are not in control. There is something higher, something more powerful. I call this God, I call Him my Heavenly Father who loves me. He sent His Son to die so that I can again  see my son who died also.

    Bizzare you might think. Personally, its sense that has become perfect in this new normal. It makes perfect sense. Because he so loved the world (wonderous humans that are you and me) He sent His Only Begotten to fix it. For me, this fix is knowing, that I will see my David  but….(theres the BUT again) …..its conditional on my behavior – that I acknowledge Him and remember I have limitations, that I live by the laws and commandments He has set for me, that I strive to love one another, that I just be an all rounded normal parent, normal mother, normal wife, normal daughter, normal daughter of God, my Heavenly Father who is everlasting and wants what is best for me.

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