Once upon a time, there lived a young woman who lived an ordinary life. She was married to a man whom she loved with all of her heart. Her husband was ill and in need of a new kidney so she gave him one of hers, and he became healthy again, and so he gave her a daughter. They were happy living their ordinary lives, planning their ordinary plans, and dreaming their ordinary dreams. Man, woman, and baby.

And then one day, everything changed. 

On an ordinary day he would have come home, but this day wasn’t ordinary. On this day, she didn’t see his car pull into the driveway; instead she watched red and blue flashing lights draw near. It was that moment when their ordinary dreams died, because it was then that she knew that he wasn’t coming home.

It turns out that ordinary so often goes unappreciated, unwanted, undesired. No news is good news, they say. If only we took more time to appreciate the lack of news on those ordinary days. 

Life became different for her and that baby. Each day was filled with pain and sorrow. The grief took over everything and instead of living an ordinary life, her life became something else. In the beginning she felt as though her ordinary life had been stolen and in its place she was left with a tragic one. This tragic life of a widow with a baby. This new life where tears, sorrow, and loneliness were everything she had to look forward to.

But, as it turned out, this wasn’t so.

It took time but she learned that her story wasn’t over, it was just beginning. The little baby he left her with became her everything and she would do anything to make sure they both lived to make him proud. She found the strength inside herself to ensure that his death would not become bigger than his life, she loved him too much to allow that. So she decided that, in order to survive his death, she would have to raise that little girl in a way that would make him proud. She would need to be the kind of mom a young woman can look back on and be proud to call Mom. She needed to be the person he saw her to be.

I would love to tell you that her ending was a storybook ending fit for a princess, but I do not yet know how her story ends, and I doubt it would be the perfect fairytale ending because this story is a true one. What I can tell you is that she is happy. What it means to be happy has changed, though. She cries every day. She is sad every day. Her heart breaks once again every morning when she wakes up. But she is grateful every day, and she loves her life every day because she has her baby. And because she once had him. 

How lucky she is to have had him, even if just for a little while.

Sometimes life is what you make of it, but sometimes life just happens to you and there’s nothing you can do about it. So you learn to roll with the punches. I’ve heard that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. So take it from this young widow raising a fatherless child… whatever you are going through, you can do this. You will be alright. And if you’re not alright now, that’s ok. It’s ok to break – sometimes its necessary – but its always ok. Life can expect too much of you, it can give you more than you can handle, and you might break. 

So you break. 

You take the time you need to be broken and shattered, but then you stand. You get back up and you start moving again. You don’t stop, you don’t give up. You never give up. Because beyond the pain, beyond the rocks at the bottom, beyond the endless days and sleepless nights, there is a world that is waiting for you. It is often the broken people who are the most beautiful, so you are worth the wait.