Mirror Check: There's an element of the past....present....right there-- in your face, under your eyes, in your smile, the way you raise your brows when you hear bad news. The way you stare off into the distance--escaping reality for minutes at a time. It is part of you. It has shaped you into the being you see staring back at you. Take a long look, Jae. Can you see her? Standing tall by the side of the bed, looking beyond the chaos directly in front of her. Trying, as best as her small mind can, to process the madness. She was innocent. She was pure. She was just a child. She IS you.
I can recall being piled in bed with my cousins-- excited that they were there, but never processed the reason for the massive sleep over. I mean EVERYONE was there-- aunts, uncles---like a second reunion. It was magical. I didn't need an explanation-- It was ALWAYS a playful adventure when we linked up!
Halfway through the night, my body decided that it was done sleeping, so I just laid there.... staring into the darkness trying to make out the unfamiliar sound in the distance. To my little ears, it sounded like an unrehearsed snore or a dry gargle. I continued to stare aimlessly in the still room hoping sleep would overtake me soon. Before I could drift off, a beam of light interrupted the darkness in the hallway as I heard feet dancing and sliding across the floor.
No one knew I was up at this point. Not long after the moving bodies came to a stop, I could hear faint cries and muffled wails coming from the back corner of the house. I just laid there watching shadows scurry by the crack in my bedroom door. Finally, my door opened and my name was called. I was ushered into my parents bedroom towards the far right side of the bed---- where my mother was resting peacefully. Her face was tranquil despite the ruckus happening around her. She seemed rather........ relaxed. The strangest part was how she was wearing her head scarf. It was wrapped around her face-- from her chin to the crown of her head. I was puzzled. With a look of confusion, I turned to my aunt for an explanation. She looked into my 8 year old eyes and softly whispered "She's gone."
Wait. What? I mean, I knew she told me she was going to die soon, but it wasn't suppose to happen yet. When we talked about it, I remember telling her I wanted her to be around for my 9th birthday. I know I asked her to wait..... Wait until after Christmas, mom.
(Yes!! (I know what you're thinking) I said that to my dying mother. The older I get the more it hurts when I reflect on it. Ever said something you couldn't take back?!! Well this is it for me. I was THAT kid!)
Just. Like. That.
I just gazed out of the bedside window, looking beyond the chaos..... Then, suddenly, a gust of air forced its way out of my small lungs without much of a sound. Without intention. Without immediate comfort of........ mom.
Where was my dad? *shrugs* Somewhere beyond the pond of people LOSING IT, probably. I mean I couldn't see too much after the onset of my silent cry. I was smothered by my tears and breasts of women trying to comfort me. My brother? Oh, he was 17 at the time. His understanding of the entire situation was pristine. So, he opted to stay at a friend's house and wait for the phone call.
I'm not sure how preparation is meant to ease the blow of losing someone you love. I think you just walk around wondering if today is THE day. Honestly, I don't think you prepare as much as you just fester in anger, heart ache, and fear. A fall from a tall building hurts whether prepared or not.
I reflect back on this day--- this very moment-- and think about what I would tell that little 8 year old who is afraid, numb, and lacks understanding.
"It'll be ok!"????........
Death of someone you love with a pure and innocent heart is NEVER ok. --- IT JUST IS. Just another way love gets you high and eventually throws a debilitating blow--- sending you into mental isolation. At this point in my life, I still cannot think of words to say to that little girl.
Nonverbal affection maybe? Because sometimes words cannot soothe.
Just as fire consumes innocence, that loss consumes me, still.
There are no words spoken that will make it "ok". I may never fully "accept it", but I do recognize the effects and how it has shaped my thoughts, my perception, my apprehension, my esteem, my relationships---- my entire being. Understanding that this is the hand I was dealt makes me question God about how strong he really thinks I am. Ha. God, I'm not a big fan of cards--LOL--- But I will play the absolute BEST out of the hand I was given.