One minute, it changed in just a simple blink of an eye. At least from my perspective, for the people around me it went on for two days. Caught in a moment that lasted much longer than I could have imagined. Eventually all things catch up to you and last weeks running around pretending I can do anything I want smacked me in the back of the head as a reminder that wasn’t the case.
It took a minute to understand my surroundings and the presence of my mother. Under the fastest of scenarios she couldn’t be in the same room with me in under six hours. So when I last remembered Thursday and the television in the room was running a scroll that said Saturday, time had hit a pause.
The worst thing I can think of experiencing is being there one moment and not there the very next. It happens in life and I didn’t want my family to understand it the same way I do. Having the door slammed in your face and locked out of a portion of life for reasons you never understand. It takes so much from you that never comes back. Trust in yourself being the worst item on my list.
But as soon as my mother was looking at me the mask had to come out. A subtle change that means lying to her about how I have been feeling and that I haven’t been doing more than I should be.
I’m trying to cheat death. Rob him/her of the ability to take more than the future I wanted. The problem has become that the faster I run the easier it is for someone to catch me. My feet can’t move any faster. I can’t out think this.
Death reminds me that we have been preparing for the meeting since the moment I was born. Four and a half decades have passed but during Death’s latest meeting with the doctors they agreed. And I want out of my bed to grab a pair of sneakers and hit the pavement.
In college I ran to Florida from Boston because I needed to find myself. Away from expectations and the past. It was a good experience. I had changed my world enough to gain myself in return.
The balance between being a narcissist and having confidence in my actual abilities finally came into view. Humility replaced being cocky. I blame that on working with kids.
It allowed me to go back North and have a plan.
Now I worry about making it to next week. That’s not the timeline, but when you lose a few days to physical exhaustion and drugs therapies; it might as well be.
My mother is worried. She talks with my Landlady in a way they haven’t since I was younger and they worried I wasn’t talking about another’s death. Add in the teenagers and one of their mothers, my life is full of strong women who are leaning on each other in ways I hadn’t seen before. It’s not about plans but about direction. A path that allows everyone to go at their own pace but always seeing the person in front of them. Sometimes speeding up to catch me as I pull away.
College and Grad School helped to train me to recognize multiple needs in an organization and find a balance. No different than family dynamics, but feelings are more pronounced within close knit groups. As each of these women walk in and out of the room I find myself addressing them differently, knowing they compare notes later at the conference held at dinner. But 15 isn’t 40 which isn’t 68. The commonality is their love of me, the separation being how that love is expressed and the differences in our bonds.
Their masks are different because they play differing roles. They are my family even though we aren’t all related by anything other than a common set of emotions. Even the pair who actively raise their hands to run lines when they could be elsewhere.
I know I’m dying. They know it as well. But our play continues….