For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, “It might have been.”
My uncle wrote those words 150 years ago, approximately. You never really know when the idea sprang into his head and when he might have taken the opportunity to write them down. But those New England poets of the mid-19th Century were a melancholy bunch who alternated between religion and death. I guess when you spend too much time staring at the snow, you get a little bit of the blues.
When Yogi Berra died the other day I loved hearing the lists of catch-phrases he had coined over the years. The ones we still use in our everyday lives without even knowing he was the one who first spoke them. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” A good man on the baseball field, and a better man off of it teaching anyone he met lessons about how to live. His impact is going to be felt well beyond the time when people still say his name.
Seizing life and making the most of any given moment is the best we can hope for. Having the dream that at some point our reach truly can exceed our grasp is what we teach kids, teenagers and forget as the harshness hits that adulthood can bring. Tiny victories become the engine that turn the wheels and moves me forward. Getting up and being able to get myself dressed and functional amounts to a huge victory. There are days when that it very hard, not just physically but emotionally as well.
I spend a lot of time, maybe too much time thinking about how just the smallest of detail might have changed the outcome with my daughter. For a while it drove me nuts, sitting in the hospital crying kind of nuts. Trying to identify the fork that might have me driving a kid to school rather than watching from the window as others do what to me is now a dream. Every parent says they would trade their lives for their child, I know I would.
When I speak about it, it makes the reality of my pain that much more real. “Living lives of quiet desperation?” I see so many faces while getting treatments at the hospital, There are so many times when I want to get out of my own world and give a complete stranger a hug or a warm hand on their shoulder. It isn’t being altruistic, the sense of isolation even in a crowded room makes me want to reach out for them. I don’t because I’m more scared of getting hurt again than anything else. A daily reminder that while I’m breathing, I’m not really living. Praying that at some point the damage of losing people can go back to being a fact of life, but not an all-consuming fear.
In a couple of weeks I’m supposed to give a speech. They asked knowing that even up until that day things are in flux with my ability to communicate thoughts clearly. They have a back-up plan in case I can’t be there. But they want me to sit in front of a room and talk about how I’m dealing with loss. All that I have experienced, everything I know about the subject that I’m willing to share. Ever seen someone break down on stage? I’ll give you the address and you can come see for yourselves.
There are a few things that I would like to have done differently, but I don’t know of the eventual outcome would have changed the long term effects on my life. There are people I want back, there are some words I would like to take back as well; but in the end my not sure. My mother jokes about how my massive brain can be shut down with a simple picture or reminder of my daughter. Guess what, she is the best part of anything I could have ever done. That’s my out of reach, a dream of the future once spoken. Now silent.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Reach.”