Every human life — no matter its duration — leaves behind lessons for those left here. The long, protracted life will leave behind a list of do’s and don’t’s, some of them universal and others left for personal interpretation.
Even a life of just nine months — six in the womb and three outside — as was my step-grandson Greyson’s, was rich in lessons. Of those lessons, the one that surpasses them all is this: life fights.
Life, that mysterious, animating God-given force that separates us and the animal kingdom from the rest of creation, is the most unique and precious force in this world. We are not trees that must forever stand in one place until we are felled by an axe, never knowing the value of friendship. We are not rocks that can neither feel a cool breeze on a hot day nor know what it is like to love or be loved. We are not dust that is at the mercy of the wind to determine where it will lie and when it will move. Life is what separates us from these things and we’ve lost sight of how precious that is.
From the very moment of conception, life is present and begins its journey. Without regard for our station in society or our circumstances, life fights and continues to fight until its host body succumbs. Life itself knows nothing about nor cares about any of our arbitrary definitions of what is good or normal or happy or socially acceptable. It just moves us forward.
Life itself cares nothing about and isn’t affected by how much or how little you want to get through another day. It will and it will insist that your body come along. Our eyelids don’t open in the morning because we decide to make them open. Life demands they open. There is nothing more natural than life forcing itself into another day.
In the case of Greyson, there is an abundance of evidence that life, indeed, is a warrior unto itself. Greyson was born ten weeks premature at 2.5 pounds, which alone presents so many challenges for the host body. That was just the very beginning of his of his battle. He would immediately face many other challenges, yet life demanded that he face them and, with the help of so many around him, he did.
Greyson beat leukemia, by enduring chemotherapy.
Greyson beat bloodstream septic shock.
Greyson outlasted a massive cardiac thrombus (clot).
Greyson survived an enterococcal peritonitis/shock.
Greyson beat a large abdominal skin wound.
Greyson beat a bowel obstruction.
Greyson overcame kidney failure.
Greyson overcame heart failure.
The life in Greyson forced him through critically high potassium (7+) levels
The life in Greyson forced him through two code blue events (the first without any broken ribs, the second without compressions)
Even in his third and final code blue, the life force inside him willed him to survive but his body could not comply.
In the land of Rocky Balboa, Greyson went the full 15 rounds, took and countered every punch, and provided for all of us a model of strength, endurance, and persistence.
In situations like this, our egos will cause us to say things that misplace the credit for these victories. We all want to say, “He is such a fighter because he has (INSERT SURNAME HERE) blood in him.” The truth is, it isn’t the blood, or the bones, or the tissue that leads the fight. They are all but soldiers in the command of Life, and Life is equal in every one of us including those in the womb. No human life has the right or moral authority to snuff out another human life that is driving its host to live, no matter where in its journey that life may be, including in the womb.
Life fights to go on, to survive. It is incumbent on all others to make it and its survival the center of our thoughts and actions.