This entry was posted by on Sunday, 23 September, 2012 at

I happened to find myself hanging out with an Iraq war vet last weekend. I know for a fact that this guy has lived through and seen things that i could not begin to imagine, nor would I want to. Yet several different times, he mentioned that he thought I was brave because my mother died.

This was utterly baffling to me for several reasons. First of all, being brave is not about the things that happen in your life, but rather your response to them. I can not remember if I have stated this before, but I have certainly said it to myself often: everybody’s mother dies. They may be young, they may be old, but sooner or later it happens to everyone. (And if it does not, on the rare occasions that a mother outlives the child, then THAT is the real tragedy.) Everyone’s mother dies, but most people manage to still be a functional member of society afterwards. Me – not so much. Nothing brave about that.

I do not know if it was solely because of this conversation, or if there were other factors as well, but I had a particularly bad week, in which I was even less functional and productive than usual. Nothing brave about that either.

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