While Ma was lingering in her last weeks, and then days on Earth, I was walking a tightrope. It was surreal. Dreamlike most of the time. It was a delicate balance. How do you keep precious hope alive while you’re slipping headfirst into the long dark tunnel of despair?
The heart wants what the heart wants. But the head knows the hard cold truth. This cruel candor resided in the belly of the thin black line I traversed every minute of every one of those final evanescent days.
It was as though I was walking high above this fragile life that was unraveling. Thread by thread. Bit by bit. One piece at a time. Tiny fragments dissolving into dust.
There I was, out of my body. Looking down. A witness to my own personal heartbreak.
The line was taut. The emotions tauter. I was neither light on my feet. Nor was I nimble. There was no grace in my step. I was just there. Trying to breathe. Trying to keep it together. Whatever “it” was.
The multi-layers of tyrannizing fear permeated ever fibre and pore of my body. Suffocating my soul. Strangling my spirit. I was bound and gagged by the evil twins, anguish and anxiety.
Fear of losing Ma. Fear of life afterwards. Fear of going on without her. Fear of falling apart. Fear of my emotions and what they could do if unleashed. Fear for my family, especially my children. Fear that my heart would never be the same. Fear that I could not go on. Fear that I would.
Fear. Fear. Fear.
With each teetering step, I wondered if this was the defining one. The tripper. The one where all equilibrium was lost. The pivotal point where standing meets stumbling. The place where I falter. Then free fall.
Down. Down. Down.
Eventually, and inevitably, I did fall. It was inescapable. I couldn’t stay up there forever. I had to come back down to earth. Face the other inevitable. Ma was dying. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. Except be there.
In the end, falling was an epic relief. I would have let go sooner had I known that I had a safety net. It was there all along.
Yes, for I fell sweetly and safely into the arms of everyone who loved me.