Death at birth

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

When someone dies at the age of 90 having lived a long and full life, it may be difficult to lose them, but not so hard to accept.

When someone dies in their 50s following a long-term struggle with cancer, it is certainly hard to see them go, but still kind of makes sense. It’s almost expected.

But for a child to die at birth – how do you reconcile that?

A friend recently shared about one lady she knows whose baby died during childbirth. Nine months of carrying a precious child inside her. Months of joy, of anticipation, of anxiety and of preparation. Weeks and weeks of talk about the ‘bump’ and plans for the child’s future.

And for what? To lose this delicate young person before he’s even had the chance to have a go at life. To make something of himself in this big badass world. To soak up the love of all those around him and in return contibute to the well-being of his community.

How could he be taken away within moments of making his grand entrance into this world? Before his personality could be etched into the hearts of those around him. Before he even had the chance to shine his first smile.

This is a sad story, one with a reminder, that our life could be over at any point in time. That any one of us could be here one moment and gone the next. That this precious human life is so delicate, that every second counts.

That child lived for a mere thirty seconds. You and I sharing these words right now, have lived a considerable amount of time longer. But that time too is running out.

Figure out what’s important to you to make this precious life worthwhile. Figure it out before that choice is no longer yours.

Sticking to that commitment

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Sticking to a commitment is important.

Until recently, I have been rubbish at sticking to my commitments. I’m still not all that great now, but am improving.

This morning I had a bereavement support visit planned for 11am. At 9.30am I looked outside the window, saw the snow falling and settling on the ground and reconsidered my half-hour walk each way.

After deliberating on it for a few minutes, I called the client, suggesting we postpone to the following week. I could immediately hear disappointment in his voice. He explained how he had psyched himself up for the session (it was our very first session), “but hey”, he said, “it’s not as bad as other things I’ve been through recently”. His wife had died a month earlier.

That sadness in his voice woke me up to my own selfish intentions… and melted them. I was so much more concerned about my own comforts that I had forgotten about his pain, his needs, his suffering.

I decided there and then that I would make sure I got to that session, come rain, shine or snow! Yes it was a half-hour trek in the snow, and yes I was frozen when I reached there, but the session was worth it. I placed someone else’s need above my own and it felt damn good.

Commitments are so important

Nomatter how crappy we may be feeling inside, we have no idea what impact not sticking to a commitment will have on the person we have promised to meet or do something for.

It could have gone so many ways. He may have given up hope in support from others. He may have got angry and complained to the organisation that I represent when making these visits. He may have drowned his sorrows (with alcohol) and hidden from the world.

On the flip side, it was an effective session for him and certainly a valuable experience for me.

What’s more, it shook me up to my priorities, what’s important to me and doing the work that’s important. I feel a great sense of purpose in bereavement support work and this morning’s deliberation not only made me act unprofessionally… it took away something that is so important in my life.

So when I took that leap and decided to make that trek in the snow to keep my commitment, all the right stuff fell back into place.

As time moves forward, make fewer commitments (focusing on the important ones) and then stick to each of them. The world will be better for it.