Here's what I know today:
My uncle is dying. The doctors say hours, maybe days. Yesterday they said maybe months. I wonder, if we ask again, can we get a better timeline, one that will include years, or maybe decades? I say this hopefully, even though I know I am kidding no one, not even myself.
I hate knowing this.
Another thing I know today: this vigil, this waiting is no easier the second time through. Almost exactly four years ago, it was my brother who lay in a hospital bed, struggling to breath, struggling to speak, or wake, or sleep, or find comfort, or something. We moved with him, breathed with him, murmured with him.
It is the same today, even though it is vastly different. And it is no easier.
I hate knowing this, too.
More things that I know today:
I ran out of time, to tell my uncle everything I wanted to tell him. I'm pretty sure he knows I love him. I'm pretty sure he knows that, for all that we fought, for all that we disappointed one another, for all that we yelled, I never forgot that we are, over and above everything (anything) else, family.
I let my pride and my ego and my need to be right get in the way of forgiveness. I regret this.
I cannot escape the smell of lilacs. I don't know if that is piped in through the vents, if it is coming from my uncle, or if I am making it up entirely. I love lilacs. I may never be able to be near them again.
Grief finds its own pathways in each of us. Learning to honor those pathways, and those who share my grief but not my road, is difficult. I am not as graceful in this as I'd like to be.
Love is not enough; it will never cure anything. If we're lucky, though, it can heal.
There is something about touch, connection, skin-to-skin, hand-to-hand, that is holy.
I am pretty sure that these are not bad things to know.
This Elul, I hope that I can carry all of this knowing, all this regret and this holiness with me - in my heart, through my hands - mindfully and with love.
- I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.