Ties that Bind: Reflections on Life and Death

Published June 10, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Tonight I finished reading “If I Stay,” by Gayle Forman. Talk about tear jerker! Phew! There is so much in this book that forced me to think about life, relationships, love and most importantly, death.

When I was little, I was always aware of time and how quickly it passes. As an adult, I’m even more aware. I often find myself caught in a moment of watching my little boys, trying my hardest to embed a memory of their six and three year-old selves.

You never know when a moment might be the last moment.

When I first started to write this post, I had to take a brief break to put my sons to bed. My oldest, Noah, has the gift of gab (just like his mother at his age ;)), and he began talking about school and listed all the grades he’d be in one day. And then he asked my husband, “Will you be alive when I’m done with 12th grade?”

Any question that starts with “Will you be alive when…” is the most heart wrenching question when it comes from your child–specifically because you don’t know. No one knows. 

At that moment, his question stuck me as WOW. At six years-old, he too is clearly aware of time and death. (Not to mention the fact that I was also writing this post about life and death.)

So back to Gayle Forman and “If I Stay.” If put in the same position as the main character, Mia, what do you do? It is impossible to not ask yourself this question when reading this book. What do you do when tragedy hits, and you are given a choice: do I live or do I die?

The ties that bind us are those things which hold us together…

If my family was taken from me, I know I would lose it. Despite my faith, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep it together and carry on. And if my family was taken from me and I was on the edge, barely hanging on, I’m not sure I’d want to hang on, you know?

I have both family and friends who have suffered the loss of a child–both outside the womb and inside the womb. I’ve often wondered, how do they keep it together? I also have friends who lost parents at a young age–and there’s that unspoken understanding that they have to carry on because it is absolutely what their parent/parents would want.

Gayle Forman’s beautiful story forced me to think about life and death and the ties that bind. The little family that I have created is what keeps me living and breathing each day. I love my family. I am immensely thankful for all that I have been blessed–and the love, generated from my family, are those ties that hold me together.

And sometimes that love and those ties are what continue to hold us together even when severed by tragedy.

Have you read “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman? How did it influence you?

 

Synopsis of “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

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One comment on “Ties that Bind: Reflections on Life and Death

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