The Reward for Attention

In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron says, “The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” She goes on to note, “The reward for attention is always healing.”

This is Nina’s gift — she gives me so much to pay attention to. She is absolutely delighted, thrilled and ecstatic in her newfound — and wobbly — ability to walk. Yesterday she started walking in bigger and bigger stretches, without any coaxing from Jeff or me. Aside from the inherent cuteness of her great, lurching steps, she walks so proudly, with a huge, gap-toothed grin that clearly says, “Look at me, I am SO COOL!”

Every day with my children heals me. They remind me of Jasmine, but they also remind me that they are still living, that they are deserving of a whole (but not unchanged) mom and that there is so much that is RIGHT in this world. How can I not see that in the beauty of Gabrielle’s smile or hear it in the brightness of Nina’s laughter? How could I not fully engage with them? Would Jasmine have wanted it any other way? I don’t think so.

Yesterday I received over 200 pictures from Ofoto that I ordered because I want to do a scrapbook of Jasmine’s last year. We have a lot of pictures to work with. What I saw shining from her eyes in each one of those pictures was an absolute joy in life that really wasn’t there before. I cannot regret making the choice to have her transplant nor can I regret a single moment of the eleven months that followed. How can I be anything but grateful for the gift that was given to us, however briefly, of a life lived well and fully? I miss her so much, but her memory lives and teaches even after her body has gone.

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