in this moment.
It was hands-down the most traumatic day of my entire life, so far. If I were ever to become a method actress and the director calls for unbelievable emotions, I will conjure up that day in April. It would shut the set down, the intensity of those emotions. I will once again find myself in that tiny room filled with the people I love. When I go there in my mind, it's hard for me to come back. to recover. I hear it all again. I see it. smell it. I FEEL IT! I can't forget a thing. I am consumed by the bone-deep pain that runs down the front of my soul. So much happened in that little room. So much that we were not prepared for. It was one of the first days of spring, the first day of the rest of our lives. so unlike the ones we had known. now and forever, changed. And that was all I knew for sure. Right at that moment.
Pain that bad has been a bit elusive around here. For one thing, we take things in stride. mostly. we roll with the punches and make the best of a bad situation. we band together. For another thing, we thought we were there for something completely different. But mostly, we just weren't expecting it. Over the past few weeks I have struggled to wrestle this particular emotion to the ground. I don't see myself as a cynic, nor do I cling to differing shreds of willful ignorance. But those four words created the possibility for trauma and attachment issues that hung loose and ghost-like on the horizon. When we got the news, I wanted to close the door. go to sleep. run away. I did not want anything muddying up our rosy future. ever. Plus, it seemed too hard. it seemed cruel. and, it made my heart shatter into a million pieces.
Of course, part of me knew there was always the chance. Given our age these things become a whole lot trickier. more common. It is a whole new kind of ball game.
But, I did not know that you could run towards something and away from it at exactly the same time. I did not know that the moment we heard, heart ache would be inflicted, forever. I did not know that we would seek help from total strangers. that an angel was sent to us disguised as an ordinary nurse. that "maybe six months" would turn into two days. I did not know that someone so strong, so happy, and beautiful, would so fully deplete my every emotional and physical resource on an hourly basis.
There are other things I didn't know.
I did not know that someone could be so brave. so strong. and even at a time like this thought only of others.
I didn't know that "heroes" could be on the receiving end of pain that was dressed up in "nothing more we can do".
I didn't expect to be stopped dead in my tracks. at that moment.
when we had ventured out on that day in March. starting out like any other. we did not know.
as the days go on, we try to forge them into some sort of normalcy, new to us, yet everyday. but my heart and head are at times, still back at the crazy train. That's life for you. It'll suck you in and answer questions you never even asked. Do not want answers to. You'll think about it when you should be sleeping. It will wrap itself around your gut and squeeze. tight. You'll wonder how this happened. and why.
The real truth is, we all go there. no matter who we are or where we've been, we recognize these things. know the secret hand-shake of our heart, and sometimes, those things need to live within us.
But I can't escape the thought that I'll always need certain things, in whatever form they find me. somewhere to go. a forever love. family traditions. trips to the root beer stand. warriors to fight for me. mommies and daddies to hug. I will also need the freedom to feel the hurts that no one else can heal. to never have to choose between a life I never got to live and this one right here. I need a free pass to cry. I now have a front row seat to the heart-busting-up trauma of being taken from all that I know. I understand more than I can verbalize, and what's left unsaid leaks out in tears, rage, and banged-up emotions. I'm thankful to have seen it with my own eyes, because I might never have believed it otherwise. I might have looked past the fight to hold on to a fantasy. I might have remained naive enough to hope that this would never happen.
So we hold our fragile hearts with the tenderest hands. We try to anticipate emotions that shift from side to side without warning, but we often get it wrong. We feel the slip of trust fall through the cracks so we reach out and grab a hold of it by the ankles. It's not always practiced or ideal, but we promise to never let it hit the floor.
And maybe that's what it's all about. Maybe it's about learning how to say good bye without having to let go. Maybe it's less about memorizing the right answers and more about looking them square in the face during every question, every doubt, every sadness. Maybe it's leaning in to a kind of pain that we do not know and will never understand just so that they aren't there leaning alone. Maybe it's less about finding the exact right things to do to fix things and more about promising to never leave without saying I love you. patch up a broken heart with a kiss, a hug and a hearty whiff of memories. at the end of the day, the bright-spots and the grim ones where it seems like it will never get better, they are ours and we are theirs.
Maybe our days will get better. Maybe the moments really will turn into forever. in times of sunshine, and days of drear we know love. fully, deeply and all the way to the tippy top. and isn't that, after all, the whole point. in this moment.
Daddy's Blueberry Cake
(go here for recipe)
(go here for recipe)