Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Sum

Addition always came easier for me than subtraction. My son, who just finished Kindergarten, shares with me the struggle of understanding the concept of taking things away. As a grown up, I still wrestle with losing things, or worse people. I can wrap my head around someone giving birth and a new person joining the world, but I struggle to understand death. I know I am not alone in grappling with loss. It just seems that loss leaves you feeling most alone.

As loved ones around me struggle to make peace with illness and impending death, there is a reality that making peace is no easy feat. You can see the evidence, you can hear a doctor say "there is nothing left we can do," you can feel the person you know so well coming and going moment to moment. But nothing can prepare you for the final moment. The hard cold news that someone is never coming back.  I can clearly recall the punch to the gut I felt each time someone I loved took their last breath. My world subtracted a piece and I couldn't accept that piece was gone.

My husband and I are feeling the calm before the storm before someone we love very much passes on. We are all aware that the inevitable end is near, and yet the pain we feel now will soon only hurt more.  Time may heal, but the shock of that moment stings for a long time. Memories may echo forever, but the stillness and emptiness of that missing piece hits so hard.  Our muscle memory to pick up the phone gets so bruised when you remember that person will never be home again. It feels like the darkest storm when suffering and mourning, yet the skies could very well be clear. The heart is so heavy and yet people in the street keep smiling around you. Life seems to go on as if nothing changed, when everything looks different to you. The earth only has so many resources, and human life is meant to come and go. Math has never been my strongest subject though and I still just can't wrap my head around this equation.

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