I know the visions the grief brings – the haunting possibilities of a bleak future for your family that doesn’t include you. I know how you wept on the bathroom floor, imagining yourself making recordings of story books so the girls could listen to you read to them at night… even after you were gone. I know how you collapsed that night, your very heart ripped, torn in two from the grief you felt for their loss and for yours. So many memories stolen, taken away. So many sweet moments running like water through your hands. And I know how it was all your fault.
You didn’t eat well enough. You didn’t manage your stress. You never confronted the people you needed to. You never spoke your truth. You never had the courage to be who you really are… nor did you have the courage to go looking for who you really are. You failed. You failed miserably, and now you’re going to die because of your failure. I know.
I know how the pain washes over you like a black cloak of oil – so heavy, so thick. There is no fighting it. You just relax into it, let it take you. It’s been such a long, hard road. You deserve to rest. To rest in peace forever… to rest… to rest… to rest.
Then you hear a voice, Get up, God Damnit! Something screams inside of you. There MUST be another way!
You respond, “No, no. I want to rest… I want to rest… I want to sleep, forever.”
You reach out one last time, and it is towards death. You welcome its gnarly, cold, bony hand to grab you and tow you away. You’re even smiling, perhaps, welcoming the rest, the finality of the situation. Oh, the sweetness of surrender… Only this is not surrender, my friend. This is hopelessness.
You close your eyes, hand outstretched, smile on your face… It is coming… it is coming! But the hand that touches yours is not cold, it is not bony, it is not hard… it is soft. Soft and warm. And it is pulling you into light. It is pulling you away from your rest.
You don’t understand. You open your eyes to look around, to get your bearings. Death is miles away, now. In fact it isn’t even in your sights. The only thing you can see is light. And on the other side of it, past the hand is brilliance. Brilliance you have never seen nor have you ever even imagined. Your focus is blurry. You strain to see what it is. Who the hand belonged to, where you’ve been taken.
And then… Nothing. You are left with nothing. No one is there. No one is with you. It is just you.
It is just you. It is just… You.
This is when you have your hissy fit; this is when you lose it. And I know because I have lost it.
You fight; you kick; you scream; you yell. You feel betrayed. Your death, your rest was stolen from you. That was it! You were there. You were ready. You wanted this. You surrendered. You accepted. Oh but my friend, you didn’t. You gave up.
And this is what happened.
Something shows up, now. Something you did not expect. You are not actually alone anymore. Something else is with you. It is deep and profound. It feels like light. It feels like a different story. It feels like a different ending, a different beginning.
It is a choice.
A choice shows up. And when it does, it is delivered by divine guidance, and it is delivered especially and precisely for you. Because it is a part of you.
When this choice is given to you, something changes… something shifts. You find yourself reaching for it. You find yourself feeling stronger. You find yourself feeling… alive again.
The blood rushes in. Your heart pounds. You begin to see more clearly. You begin to see past the light and into a life you never even dreamed for yourself. There are people here you recognize, streets and towns you know; there are experiences that are familiar. But there are also things you can not make out – colors, shapes, experiences, places, people you have never seen before. And they are blurry. But they are there! Moving, flowing, showing you their vibrancy. They are yours.
And you find something you lost. Something you gave up. Something you longed for, but forgot how badly you longed for it.
You find… your hope.
And when you pick it up tenderly and place it to your heart, you become filled with gratitude you did not think was possible. Your body fills with light. Your chest beams with gold. Your face is filled with a smile of tenderness and love beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. You are overtaken by your gratitude. Tears of joy roll down your cheeks. You breath heavy, long breaths and feel the air fill your lungs. You feel your life. You hear your heart beating. You notice the sounds around you. You see the visions in front of you – blurred and un-blurred – with more vividness than is humanly possible. You see yourself. You see your life. You see… the possibility.
And you thank every single person, every single experience, every single place you’ve ever been for what it has contributed to your life. Because without those things, you would not be here, tenderly clutching your hope to your chest. You would not be the beams of light and the wealth of wisdom that you are. You would not be the hope you needed to survive.
I know this because I have been with you all along… I am YOU.
Don’t you EVER give up.
© Stefanie DelPrete 2014
if you guessed that the reference to fambuly came from the Real Women of SNL… you’d be right 🙂