we're all heading on down the river. photo by the esteemable ansel adams
On Tuesday, my dad’s test results came back as well as we could have hoped. That means a high five, no more drugs and four and half more years of us holding our collective breath until he enters remission. We are grateful.
On Wednesday, one of Riley’s old college friends was sent home on hospice. After years of battling cancer, it’s metastasized beyond the means of treatment.. His oldest child just turned eight.
Right now, I am sitting in my basement as my babies sleep upstairs. They don’t know this part of life. The fairy tales tell Zuzu that death is healed by a kiss. She believes them. Sweet Viola hasn’t had to think one step past the hugs that wait for her every morning. I don’t ever remember feeling that way. As a child, I was always so afraid of death. Some nights I stayed up until the sun rose, because I was certain that once closed, my eyes would never open. I was a little neurotic even then.
My coping mechanisms have improved, but the fear stays.
I know what I believe. I know what I hope to believe. Mortality is the second act in an eternal play. There is life after this and it is challenging and gleaming and complete.Our souls exist apart from the faulty mechanics of our frail bodies. They live on. Death separates us from those we love momentarily. We are not left here alone by those have gone before us. The ministering of angels is a real gift bestowed upon those in need. Often, so brutally often, the answer to our prayers is “No”. That does not mean they have not been heard. It does not mean they have not been held. It does not mean they are not loved for their faith, devotion and simplicity. Zuzu’s understanding of life and death is not so different from the truth I have sewn about my heart. We will be brought forth after the temporary darkness. Only rather than by the power of a prince’s kiss, the reunion of our soul and body will be brought about by the power of the Prince’s blood.
Today hasn’t dimmed those star shined truths, but it sure as hell has knocked the light out of me. I can’t think of one damn good reason why a little girl should have to stand and watch someone bury her daddy. I can only think of his empty chair at the kitchen table.
In a few minutes, I’ll seek the comfort that waits. Until then, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to cry.