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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Pendulum of Irony

There is irony in Death. In the death of a loved one- the snatching of a child from your arms. You become suddenly, painfully aware that time here does not last forever. That life has limits. That every minute is intrinsically valuable. That tomorrow is truly not promised... to any of us. And yet, at the very moment your eyes are stripped of their blinders and you perceive the preciousness of the inhaling and exhaling, that every breath is on loan, you seem to lose the ability to really live. Now you want to carpe diem, but there is a gaping hole that seems to drain away attempts at happiness. How do you enjoy when the joy is leaked away? Now you know, but with the deep inner knowing comes the deeper pain of loss. They hold hands in a cruel pact of friendship- the loss and the eyes-wide-open living.

Losing a loved one is like losing a limb.  If your right arm were gone, you could still live your life.  Just differently.  You would have to brush your teeth differently, drive differently, learn to dress yourself differently.  When your mind would try to reach for something with the missing appendage, you would have to redirect and compensate... use what is left.  But always there would be the old thinking, a catching of oneself.   It is the same with sudden death.   Maybe all death?  You continue to function, but everything you do is through the lens of loss.  Nothing feels normal.  Inside you must fight to accomplish basic tasks.  If you forget for a moment, then it catches you- the truth you don't want to be true.   The stinging of the loss is multiplied because no one sees your missing limb.  The hole is in your heart- your real heart.   The struggle is invisible.  Boiling beneath the surface.  Hiding behind the to do list and masked by niceties. But the absence is there, and the mysterious void snakes its tentacles through every thought and wraps around every action.  It squeezes the life breath out of you. You who know better than most now that you need to infuse each moment with life... not death.  And so there is a relentless tug of war.

A friend, one who carries a deep hole of loss in her heart, too, said to me "there is pain in this life that we have...but there is also beauty.   Where you are right now....pain and beauty can keep you on a HUGE teeter totter emotionally. Then one day...the beauty once again begins to outweigh the pain."

I can't imagine that right now.  It seems impossible.  Like I am irrepairably broken.  An innocence that I had has been lost forever.  Too much knowledge from this tree of good and evil.  But her words feel like hope.  Ironically that is her name... So I wait for the pendulum to swing.  For the teeter totter to lean away from the pain.  To lift me up towards the beautiful sky and maybe towards some of that light, feathery, soaring  innocence that I so deeply miss.

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