Right now, in this little minute, I am quiet inside. This dog has lost its fight. I have carefully removed all distraction, put away the things I hide behind, and here I am. I can see all of myself, and all of my story. There will be no more running.
Until this week, I believed that if I tried hard enough, and was diligent and “good” enough, some magic in the sky would open up and rain the feeling of “happily ever after” onto me. I know what that story looks like, because I’ve made it over and over in my mind, for years. Everyone has one. I can tell you mine did not look like this.
But this is my happily ever after. And while some superficial things will change, and anything can happen, the life I am living is the one I’ve got, and for the most part, the one I’ll have. My story started far before I opened my little eyes one morning thinking I could take control of things, and sitting on the ground tonight, I finally understand, in all its inky nastiness. I simply cannot make a different story, or life, or self, not even with all my hardheaded will.
I am not a fool, and therefore it has not escaped me that I have a beautiful life. I live every day deeply grateful for all that I have. Overlook the judgment of cliche and believe me, because when I was only 22 years old I was comforting people who’d lost their children, babies even, to cancer, or who were themselves fighting it out with cancer. I have seen a lot, and held the space for the most unexplainable grief, and I have done it over and over again, like any good nurse. I’ve not forgotten those moments.
But those are the things I am good at, and find great comfort in, because they are noble. The privilege of bearing witness to life, death, and the struggle in between – I accepted that invitation gladly, and let it fill me with humility. But now, and here, in my own struggle, I am ashamed – for I am not dying of cancer, my children are healthy, and I have enough. I am not entitled to a weary heart, says this world.
Inside of me, however, something has woken up, and that steel-boned piece of me knows: Things have not turned out the way I’d planned. It’s told me, “now is the time.” Float those plans gracefully, luminaria on a paper boat, into the dark of this night. They make each day an ill fitting suit – the mirror amplifying the seamstress’s skill, the wearer smiles, ever so slowly suffocating.
Loosening the folds, ripping the seams, I will see exactly what is here and now, and without escape, I will embrace what I see. I will step over the pieces of delicate fabric, and mourn how well they served me. I feel adrift without them, and angry, but I will let every last drop of bitterness trickle free. I have a lot to take care of, and I cannot let myself suffocate.
My son, just brand new.