I read a blog post earlier today written by a man who has just been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It was well written, heartbreaking and utterly familiar.
He spoke of clarity... the unique & brutal shift of perception that occurs when you face your own mortality. The things that matter, the shift of things that fall away, suddenly completely inconsequential.
How easy it is to forget that shift. How easy it is to let the crap pile back up, to let the little stuff start to matter again. How quickly the big picture becomes more important than the day to day. How easy it is to not be present.
Being present means no irritation with slowness. No "just get through this drive with your family and then you can get back to all the other crap that occupies your days". Your brain. Your life.
Being present is letting that stuff go. It'll be there later, it always is.
I haven't had clarity in awhile. I haven't been present in even longer. If anything I've spent most of my time actively avoiding it. The big picture stuff clouds my brain too easily. It gets to be too much and then I shut down completely in inaction, paralyzed by the enormity of my responsibilities and needs.
What is important is every day. Are my children safe & fed? Are they happy? Did we have a good conversation today? Did they let me into their head, do I feel calmed? Knowing they are growing and thinking and learning and coping?
We've passed our second awful father's day. It was less brutal this time. There were tears, there was emptiness... but there was also joy. And memories. And love.
It is still so hard to look at pictures. And I wish I would have taken one every single day. I have some, from near the end, that no one will ever see but me and our children, when they are older. They are still beautiful, but I can't bear to look at them now... just like Jason could not bear to look in the mirror for long at the end. My heart swells with love and longing and pure pain when I am reminded of the man I lost and love still.
There is a shift happening, something that comforts and scares me at times. I dream about Jason, a lot. In most of these dreams he is healthy and smiling, quietly watching. Nobody sees him but me. Sometimes he comes back to me, but only to tell me he is sorry for being gone so long, that everything is ok. He gives me a thumbs up ad his goofy smile a lot. He never actually speaks, but I hear his voice in my head. I remember these dreams when I wake up, in detail. I am choosing to take this as a sign that he is ok. That he is happy for me and loves me always. I don't really know or care if it is a gift from beyond or a figment of my subconscious mind... I'm taking some small comfort from it. It's all I have.
I am not fine, not healed. I never will be completely. But I am moving forward. At a snails pace maybe, and with many stumbles in the road. But I'm still going.