A horrible reminder


The fire of a pressing deadline burns in my stomach. The project is tightly estimated. The team and I work hard to make it. The project is very important to my customer and I really want to see my team succeed because I like the guys. I told my wife I am going to have a few hard weeks and she understood. She knew I will work until late at night. I keep some balance with meditation. I wrote a book about keeping the balance (The Zen Programmer) which I want to release soon. Ironically this adds some addition pressure on my schedule.

When I work hard I sometimes forgot about my mortality. I could die at any time but instead I hack code and eat in front of my computer. Luckily meditation helps me to find back into reality after a while. Meditation reminds me I am mortal. Unfortunately this time the reminder was different.

A relative of mine was pregnant and all tests looked great. When she gave birth to a little girl everything went wrong. The baby didn’t get enough oxygen. She died inside her mother, had to be reanimated and was sent to coma. While reanimation her frontal lobe was heavily damaged. I worked for a medical company once: it is pretty normal something like that happens while reanimation. After a while they turned off the machines and nobody knew if she would breath alone. It turned out she could. But in her life she will not be able to do anything else than breathing. She can’t move. She can’t even sip. The whole time she cries in her little bed because the only thing she feels is pain. When she grows up she will see others get married, have kids, and do all the things which healthy people do in their life. But she will be caught in an unmovable cage made of flesh. It was not her fault. But she has to deal with it.

I feel so sad this happens to a baby.

In my book I wrote you can still have a good life when all things are wrong. I still believe that. But in reality you must be very strong to live a good life when something like that happens to you. I feel bad about it, but I think they shouldn’t have reanimated her. I mean, there are cases in which reanimation doesn’t damage anything or at least not too much. I don’t have an idea if I would have the strength to live a good life. I know there are families who have disabled kids and manage that. I think they need to work a lot harder. Maybe they have accepted their situation could give up their whole former life. Because you can’t keep your old life in neither case. I speculate. I don’t know.

I practice Zen. But this doesn’t help me for being afraid. I feel bad because I think I am so happy it was not me and not my kid. I don’t practice enough.

Things like that can happen all the time. I have other friends who lost their babies. I just know one or two pregnancies out of ten which went completely well. Life is fragile. With all the medical trained people around we have no control on our bodies. No guarantees. I makes me angry when people speak about pregnancy as it would be the most normal thing in the world. It’s not. It’s exciting. And it’s dangerous. That our women and our babies survive something like that is not guaranteed. I understood early in my life that Celts worshipped a “Mother Earth”. Woman have an incredible courage and strength. Males have the better deal to die on an ancient battlefield than giving birth and raise a child. Pregnancy is not routine.

When I am focused on a job I forget that I will die too. Maybe now. Maybe tomorrow. I forget my wife or my kid can die at any time. Nobody expected the sad news. Nobody expected the quick death of an (rich) idol like Steve Jobs.

I don’t want to suck in my job but I also don’t want to suck in my life.

I have that deadline. I want to release the book soon. But this week I decided to play more often with my kid. I told my wife to go riding more often. She was surprised but liked it. I slept less and worked harder. No time for TV or things like that. But it doesn’t matter. My real life was calling. I played with code at night and with my son at day. I am happy my wife and my son is well. I am sad the little girl is not. Nobody deserves that.

I hope you’ll not be reminded on your mortality that way. Better you call your partner right now. Send flowers. Play something nice with your kids. If you have a disabled kid to care for let me hug you. You totally deserve it.

Tags: #Life