Waiting for someone you love to die is hovering 10,000 feet in the air, knowing you can’t help the crash coming.
It is the fear of falling to sleep because you don’t want to miss the last 500 breathes they take.
It is waking up to see the sun, yet stumbling through days in darkness.
It is hearing laughter and wishing today was easy as that sound.
It is stinging cold bites on the hottest day of the year.
You look at the phone when it rings and decide that if you don’t answer, you don’t have to talk about “comfort” care or how many hours there may be left of what the nurse called his “natural life.”
If you have ever watched someone about to leave their body you know that God isn’t always beautiful, and without a doubt, she’s real. You know sometimes there’s a fight. You know there is no winning or losing. There is simply real.
Watching my 93 year old grandmama watch her first born, my daddy, die,- I learned that mama’s never stop seeing the innocence of their baby and always remember the complete joy and pain of their child’s first breath.
If you’ve ever watched and waited for someone you love to die, you know the air in the room and your whole world changes. In some places it thins, so they can pass through. Other places it thickens to hold all the love and memories in.
You know that spaces outside of the waiting room feel like betrayal. The way everyone else’s time seems to move on while you watch for it to stop in a kind of forever way.
You know that every prayer is heard, and ain’t always answered in ways we can understand. You know that in the rawest of moments, prayer is a covering for your heart. You know that when everything is pulled apart at the seams, prayer is the thread that holds the smallest part of us together.
You know what it is to retrace a lifetime of memories only to realize there are too many gaps and no way to fill them in. You hold on to faith that those places will indeed be “where the light enters.”
You know that sometimes silence is a loud and deafening sound.
Two years ago, on this day, and after weeks of waiting and watching, my daddy left his body.
10,000… 9,000, 8,000 feet in the air…
I never actually crashed. It has been slow going, turbulent, and an honest grounding. At times I’ve closed the window and my eyes on this ride because there is really nothing to see out there, everything to feel in here.
Yet I landed. I landed with my feet and heart deeper in the earth.
And I am closer to all living things and everything that has breath.
Closer to the helm of God’s torn, yet regal garment.
Braver in the face of the grit, stuff, compost within us all.
I am closer to the place that grows and returns every life to its beginning.