Comings and goings. Invoking memories, or nothingness.
Passive: One’s comings and goings. Go to work. Come home. Go run an errand. Come back to church. Go there, come here. Reflexive almost. Your legs, your minivan, your lives moving without your brain’s input. The passive comings and goings add up, piling on top of each other until they’re a mound of weekdays and weekends and hours and minutes without margins, blending together in a heap. A colorful mass of blurry mess.
Active: Being a part of it all. Go to your daughter’s dance recital. Come home to a surprise meal. Go pick your daughter up from the nurse; she’s sick, and wants to come home to her bed. Come here, you yelp to the puppy. Go on a luxurious vacation, not believing your luck. Come away with me, my friend. Go away, you silently shout at the rain. Go get some food truck deliciousness. Come to my house with bells on. Come visit, family, we miss you. Go on!, you laugh and laugh.
Blessings come into our lives if we listen, watch for, breathe them. People go whether we want them to or not.
May 27 has come and gone six times since the day--the instant, the milisecond--everything changed. The day life became “after,” and “before” had to go. The thing about life-changing moments is that you actually know your life is changing right THEN, in that second. The time-space continuum slows tangibly, and you become hyperaware of some of your surroundings and completely oblivious to things like where you are or what you should be doing. I remember the thickness of the May evening air, heavy with the scent of suburban potted flowers. Now, I can recall the precise feel of the warm bricks under my ass, the sound of laughter ebbing and flowing behind me. But in that moment, I was concentrating so deeply, so intensely on what my breast surgeon was saying, the diagnosis and new strange words that were coming into my life, that I hardly had a chance to watch my old life go.
But I felt it. The before became the after right there in my lap.
After the phone call, when I sat for an eternity with my head in my hands, someone came outside to leave, to head for home. So stunned that someone else has penetrated my night, my thick air, the end of my old life, I jumped, surprised to see another human where they didn't belong. After a mumbling of excuses, I left for home, but just drove around and around, ending at a friend's house before beginning in my home . . . beginning the process of telling those I love that my old life just ended on a front porch and my new life was about to begin.
That was May 27th. So it is today. The air around me is fragrant, carrying me with it to memories that thankfully are lodged too deep to fully grasp.
What have been the goings these six years? Fear of conformity. That’s gone. Worry that I’m not good enough as a mother, a friend, a wife, a daughter, a sister. Gone? Not entirely, because worry is what I do. But gone is the self-loathing that once consumed me. Gone too is the phrase, “I’m busy.” I simply won’t say it any more . . . I’ll either make it not so, or pour myself into what I’m doing to bring happiness.
Gone too, however, are losses too tragic, too soon, too sad. Friends to cancer, neighbors with hearts that broke for real, a mother to addiction, the childhoods of my daughters whispering past before I can breathe them in.
What has come into this new life, this Life Number 2? A collection of treasures, of memories, this time around with sharper edges, in focus, appreciated in the moment and cherished as often and as deep as my middle-aged mind will allow. Not a mound of mess but a armful of love. Exploration. Laughter. Tears. Fun. Embracing messiness, because it happens, and it happens often. Learning. Always learning.
Realization that next steps may lead to unexpected bliss. And that I am not afraid to take them.
Anything is possible.
Every day I look at the sky, say a prayer of thanks, and hope that I remain on this earth to make more comings than goings.