On Life, Loss and the Universe’s Math

My nephew Michael was born a little while after my Nana passed away in the early 90s. I remember at the time thinking it was an odd minus-one, plus-one situation. Some sort of weird cosmic math where one is taken away to make room for another.

When I was pregnant with Connor, my cousin took her own life. It was shocking. Horrifying. But, maybe because of the overlap (I was already pregnant), that time I didn’t think about the math.

Yesterday, Michael was in a serious car accident and he’s now in a coma. He and his family—my sister—live in Australia and they feel so very far away. They are so very, very far away. And I sit here, three months pregnant, feeling helpless and wondering why the universe seems to require things to be just so perfectly balanced.

Michael is young, having just finished high school. He’s smart, athletic, and cute. He’s also a really, really nice kid. Why does he have to have his life threatened when others are allowed to live on and contribute nothing to the world except pain and anguish? Why does that perfectly balanced math have to come from within my own family?

It just makes me think. Connor climbed into bed with me early this morning, curving his small body into mine. He was restless, though, as was I after a night of lying awake and wondering about things bigger than I that I don’t understand. My small boy pressed his cool cheek against mine and rubbed my wrist. I felt his soft hair and his little fingers and the in-and-out of his quiet breathing.

I kept him with me there in the quiet darkness of a day not yet begun and wondered how I can keep him safe. But I can’t. Ultimately—ironically, unfairly—none of us can do that for our children.

We just have to hope the universe isn’t quite so picky with the math.






  1. Sending love and light to your nephew, and to your entire family.

  2. So sorry that you are going through this. I hope he recovers. Someone so young so hurt is difficult to deal with.

  3. I’m saying prayers for your nephew, and your family. And some extra hugs for you.

  4. Wow, it is a lot to think about and process, isn’t it? I lost my dearest Grandmother when I was only 9 weeks pregnant with my first son and I had some of the same thoughts as you…

    I’m so sorry about your nephew, I hope he can recover.

    p.s. SO MUCH congratulations – I didn’t know you were pregnant. YAY!! 😀

  5. I’m so sorry to hear this. I got my own blow of this universal balance yesterday as a dear friend of the family passed.

    I hope the best for your family.
    Beautiful words.

  6. Chibi Jeebs says:

    Still thinking about you all and sending prayers. <3

  7. I’m so sorry to hear this, Robin.

    My heart hurts for yours.

    (Sending what I’ve got.)


  8. Cristi Comes says:

    Oh no honey. I’m pthinking of you and your family. Big giant hugs and lots of love coming your way.

  9. My grandfather passed away when I was pregnant with Chessa and I remember having so many of the same questions and feelings? It sucked.
    Sending thoughts and prayers to your nephew and you and your family. XO.

  10. (((hugs))) Love and light <3

  11. My thoughts and prayers go out to your sister and her family, and I hope and pray for Michael’s recovery.

    In times of sickness and death, I often become equally contemplative and think along the same lines as you. Especially now that I have a child of my own.

    Being a parent means living in a constant state of love. And to a degree, a constant state of fear. But always a constant state of something.

    (Incidentally, this is a post concept that I haven’t yet been able to wrap my mind around enough to write. But it’s always there, in the back of my mind.)

  12. Oh friend, my heart goes out to you and to the rest of your family.
    We can’t control what happens to anyone, though we’d like to.

  13. No words for this sweetie. Just sending love.

  14. I’ve never really lost any family members close to me yet, so I have no wisdom to offer. Sending blessings and prayers your way.

  15. Oh my heart is hurting for your family reading this. I will keep you in my prayers, and I know that feeling of just hoping against hope that your little babies can remain safe.

  16. Sending healing vibes to Michael and love & light to you. xo

  17. Thinking about you and your cousin. I am pretty sure the universe is as bad at math as me…

  18. I’m sorry to hear you are dealing with such losses. I don’t know most of my relatives so I havn’t experienced this (they are all somewhere in Europe). I truely hope Michael recovers – if he’s young and strong then that goes in his favor. I live in NSW Australia and it is not that far away, and remember – you don’t need to be right there to be of help. Any effort or support on your part will be appreciated by your sister, and especially so because you’re pregnant (I’m in my 4th months & know it’s taxing). When my mum was young she was hit by a bus on her bicycle and was in a comma for 2 weeks but she came around alright so I am hopeful this will be the case with your nephew. Sending a 4-leaf clover to you and your family.

  19. Robin, I hope Michael recovers fully and that you can go on feeling fortunate and happy about this pregnancy. I know it’s hard, but please try to remember that this baby – that each new life – is a blessing, and that whatever bad things may come, they do not diminish this fact.

  20. Robin, I am so sorry. Positive thoughts for Michael and your family and praying he recovers 100%.

  21. Sending prayers!

  22. I wish there were a way to always protect our children. One of my closest friends lost her 4 yr old daughter to luekemia (4 yrs ago). Parents just shouldnt have to ever go through that pain.

    I will say a prayer for your nephew.

  23. I’m sending prayers and healing thoughts to you, your family, your nephew. Life can be so harsh and unfair at times…I too lose sleep over these thoughts at times like these. I just lost a cousin suddenly in a car crash – he was 16 and he was a wonderful boy. As a Mother – the thought of anything happening to my children just makes me feel…so helpless. Continue to have faith and loving those babies SO hard. Times like these bring gratefulness for the present moments.

  24. I am praying for Micheal and his family.

  25. I’m sorry. Sometimes things just seem unfair, or at least the things we are shown seem to line up that way. I hope Michael recovers and all will be well. I know how hard it is to be so very far away and feel so helpless.

  26. I had similar plus one-minus one situations when I was pregnant before too. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Sending you lots of love and support! xo

  27. I haven’t experienced this same plus one minus one in my life despite loss in my family. I hope for recovery for your nephew, love to you and your family. Positive thoughts

  28. So sorry your family is going through this. Sending thoughts and hugs your way! There is nothing worse than being so far away, wanting desperately to help.

  29. I am so sorry to hear this. Sending lots of positive healing vibes and hugs to you and your family.

  30. Sending you love & hugs.

  31. The universe can be a very cruel place. But, it does allow miracles to happen too.

    Sending love and positive thoughts your way.



  32. I’m so sorry. I’ll keep him in my heart and thoughts.

    I, too, did not know you were expecting. In the midst of all the sad feelings I send you much love and many congrats. How wonderful and exciting for you and your family. I hope that Michael remains strong and is there to meet your sweet baby when s/he arrives.

  33. Robin, I’m so sorry. Praying for all of you. And sending hugs too.

  34. Thoughts and prayers for your nephew and his family! I can’t imagine how painful this must be for your sister.

  35. Oh Robin, I am so sorry. This post, and then your tweet saying that they were taking Michael off life support today, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain your family is in. Sending hugs and as much strength as I can.

  36. I’m so sorry about your nephew. I’ll be saying a prayer for your family.


  1. […] 15 CommentsRest in peace, Michael. You are so, so loved. Thank you, friends, for all your kind words of support. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Share on Linkedin Share with Stumblers Tell a friendShare […]

  2. […] 9, 2012 By Robin Leave a CommentThe last couple of weeks have been rough. After Michael’s accident we had family members flying all over the place, which my anxiety really didn’t like […]

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