Lately it seems absurd that Isaac is gone. As in– I don’t have the capacity to believe it, accept it. I feel him everywhere– I see photos and think– there he is! Alive and well. See? There he is! And there…see that smile? See those strong limbs– see that glow? Alive. So alive.
Death. It is absurd. Someone is here and life is all around them. Then poof. Gone.
This morning on our walk, it occurred to me that either Joshua or I will die first.
The weight of it…
There are times I think I will not survive another loss. Other times I think if I can survive the loss of Isaac, I can survive anything. Sometimes, playing with Moonshine, I think– she will die. She is a dog. Dogs don’t outlive us. How can I survive the loss of her unconditional love? This is followed by the understanding that I could die, first. The other day I almost fell. My arms were loaded with wood and the angle at which I could have fallen would likely have broke my neck. I saw myself dead in the backyard all day, and Josh finding me in the evening when he came home and wondered where I was, my car in the driveway, he calls my phone and hears it ringing outside, goes to look and finds me dead.
I think death does this to you. Don’t get me wrong– I have spent plenty of time over the 18 years of Isaac’s lifetime fearing worst case scenarios. That is not new. What is new is feeling death so close. A whisper away. Lurking, stalking me.
This is not a comfortable or welcome feeling. The other day I awoke with a sore throat. I just “knew” it was throat cancer. There was a part of me that was sad and didn’t want to die. There was a part of me that thought I don’t want to fight cancer. There was a part of me that thought “it’s ok, I will be reunited with Isaac–it’s cool”.
What is the will to live made of? Mine is, despite morbid, meandering ponderings, so strong. Yet– what is my life? It seems to have come to a standstill. In the gloaming of great loss, what is it that I am doing with my life? What is it I want to do now?
I am discovering a gluttonous abundance of time… Time I used to spend “busy”. I was SO busy. Working, parenting, thinking, worrying, trying. So much energy and effort. What did any of it yield? Forgive me if I seem morose– it isn’t futile thinking. It is a serious observance of my life.
What do I do with the time I used to devote unabashedly, to Isaac?
It has occurred to me lately that I am deeply interested in knowing– truly knowing– what it is I can cling to. What is mine. What defines me. What remains no matter what. I am discovering this one day at a time, one breath at a time. Peeling back layers. Seeking the source from which my life force flows. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, when will I arrive at a point where there is certainty? Always wanting to know the end game– it is in my nature. But once in awhile, a quiet comes over me and I feel a strong sense that it is the unravelling, the seeking, that is life. That is the point. Finding out who I am along the way, each step of the way, is who I am– in the moment I am searching, there I am. On the pulse. Quivering. Steadily excavating all that I am not. Maybe we never arrive at some location where we say “ah, here I am” maybe it changes minute by minute because of what happens minute by minute. Life. Alive. Maybe I am not the story that led me to the questions that make me think I am answering them as I look for something solid to hold on to. Maybe there is no holding on. I dont know. I don’t know what I know. I don’t know who knows.
The only thing I do know is that I’m interested. Curious. And that tells me that being alive is worth it. Even if only death provides the ultimate truth– I want to exhaust my options and investigations for as long as I can. Somehow, this is enough to shine on.
3 thoughts on “Enough.”
Some of these very thoughts run around my head regularly. I think of all the things in the body that pulse: the heart, the lymph, cerebral spinal fluid, peristalsis…It’s all there from the beginning, and before. We pulse, we’re driven, we resonate with all the other pulses and vibrations around us. Superstrings play constantly from the Universe and we respond. Death does not stop these urges and surges. I observe you aligning with Isaac’s pulse beautifully.
A favorite famous quote from Chogam Trungpa Rinpoche:
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”
You may want to read some of the buddhist teachings on impermanance, if you haven’t already. It’s an interesting and wholesome view.