I remember junior year of high school when I learned that one of my best friends skidded to her death in a rain slicked accident. That September evening my life seemed to skid to its own abrupt stop. Too many emotions for a 15-year-old, cascaded into my story. I felt ruined. Lonely. The world became cruel. My heart became hardened.

A week before my 21st birthday, my oldest brother showed up at my front door. I thought he was just tired from a local fire he was fighting. Rather, with sunken eyes he told me that we needed to fly home. Our middle brother was fighting for his life after a motorcycle accident. He would be paralyzed, at best. That is, if we got to keep him earth side. The stairwell I hid myself in caught all my tears as I embraced yet another of life cruelest moments.

After my first nephew was born, I learned the word endometriosis, and then I learned that miscarriage doesn’t just happen to other people. Now, it was part of my story.

My doctor told me that I had infertility. My pastor asked if I wanted a service for the baby that I caught in a toilet.

Another one of life’s bookmarks.

A moment that demands our attention. A moment that changes you. A moment that robs you. A moment that teaches you.

With each compiling moment I learned another lesson. With each of life’s interruptions, or bookmarks, you can become calloused. Wounded. Victimized like life has its own vendetta against you. That everyone else is skating through while you are avoiding the land mines in your way of peace. Bruised and broken.

Bookmarks have the power to throw life off its path; but, also have the potential to influence some of life greatest lessons.

Fifteen taught me to appreciate the affection of friends. Taught me that my sweet mama could also double as my most precious of friends.

Twenty-one taught me to honor the depth of friendships born in my family. It taught me how strong I could be in the face of the most cruel of moments.

Infertility taught me to stay centered. To enjoy moments and the semicolons of life. To lean into my husband rather than turning away. To find my brave in the midst of my scared, sadness and grief.

Bookmarks are some of life’s greatest educators.

What is your bookmark teaching you?

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Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Founder of The Quillet Institute
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Therapist
Mom to Four Miscarried Babies

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