My dad’s first wife passed away when their first son was only two years old. The idea of my brother having grown up without a mother is hard to think about. In looking at the mother of my own child, I see what a mother means to a child: everything. The thought of losing my wife, though it doesn’t wade through my mind too often, makes my heart quake, on my behalf and on my daughter’s.

This thought crossed my mind today when baby and mother were playing. I’m so often preoccupied contemplating my own premature death that I hardly think it could be just as probable that I’m not the first to go—death can be unbiased towards the healthy and unhealthy alike. In that moment, I shed a tear for my brother and father, who lived the exact existence the thought of crumbles me. Not that their lives today, more than some thirty, forty years later have been tragically afflicted by the incident, but at the poetic injustice of a father losing his wife, and a child losing his mother. I can’t bear that thought for me, and I cannot bear it for someone else.

Yet if my father’s first wife and my brother’s only mother had not died unjustly, my father would not have gone on to marry the woman who is my mother. And I…I would not be here today. You wouldn’t be reading this post.

This thought instantly devastated me. I exist because a woman died. I exist because a child lost his mother. My daughter exists by that same cause. The most beautiful thing in my life exists because of the most unbeautiful thing that could befall a family.

That woman, though I know almost nothing about her—I owe. I owe her my best.

I think about my own mortality often, mostly due to the precarious nature of my health. The most beautiful moments are in my child’s eyes; mine water looking at hers. My right eye sheds a tear to the wonder before me; my left for the thought that she may lose me, and I her, prematurely. In those moments, I sometimes think of the devastation I might cause my family were I to leave them unexpectedly due to the probable or improbable. When I think of my condition, which may or may not kill me, I curse the gods for the potential of having ruined my family’s life. “They’ll never recover from me,” I think to myself, or “My absence will forever be a dark cloud that looms over their every day.”

Yet from the devastating death of my dad’s wife arose a family which I know he loves more than anything. It’s the cause to which I owe my existence, without which there could not be me, my wife, and my daughter living in a warm home sharing laughs and sharing life. From her death, came endless beauty.

Maybe from mine too, shall come endless more.

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