“In this moment of confronting my bleak up next, I oddly find myself digging my heels into the ground as I attempt to hunt down a new dimension of fearlessness.”
I think our western culture loves to process the exciting things that are going to happen next, like a new baby, new car, new house or new dress. We triple filter images, add a cool location and caption quote to our glorious moments as we shout them from the social media rooftops.
I wonder though, are we any good at processing the impending unexciting moments that are around the corner? Like, death.
I call these moments, “mini Hiroshima’s’.
We rarely talk about them, because I think we have become experts at silencing, burying, forgetting and avoiding the tough conversations.
Right now, my heart is heavy.
Whenever my brother takes a hit we feel his pain ricochet onto us. Today, I looked around at my family and I could see that we all knew what was coming next, but at the same time, we didn’t know how it was going to look. There was silence at the breakfast table and it felt like someone had loaded up lead fishing sinkers in my pockets and then thrown me into a pool of water.
Sadness was pulling me down.
My hurting family was, unfortunately, facing the last chapter of my brother’s life. We were spectators watching on as this train wreck unfurled. Sometimes it was slow and other times it was fast. We weren’t in the final hours at the hospital bedside. Instead, we were navigating his wheelchair, watching him slowly unwrap a birthday present or witnessing him struggling to lift a fork as he ate dinner.
People often ask me how I’m coping and the answer is, I’m not really sure. In this moment of confronting my bleak up N E X T, I oddly find myself digging my heels into the ground as I attempt to hunt down a new dimension of fearlessness.
- I cry. Sweaty eyes are a good thing. I let the tears roll down, even if I’m in the middle of the supermarket and my eyelashes are plastered with mascara.
- I talk. I gather the troops that have my back. I’ll text one or two close friends and see if they can meet for a cuppa or talk on the phone. I know it’s a basic suggestion, but like my mother always says, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Even if I don’t have the words I just try and talk through my feelings, his status, and the sadness.
- I breathe. I take in some big deeps breaths slowly through my nose and let my belly expand, then I breath out slowly through my nose. It kind of breathes hope into my soul.
- I issue kindness and gratitude. I like to take my round, amazing, healthy body to a place of water and swim. Then I issue a dose of gratitude as I look down at my limbs and my skin and I think, ‘God I’m so lucky, I’m healthy and I’m alive’.
- I do nothing. Sometimes just staring at the wall or curling up on the couch and doing nothing works too. I find just being in the hazy cloud with no agenda kind of pays homage to my uncomfortable reality.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much you can do with this next chapter, except just take each day as it comes. If you find yourself in this place and you feel hollow and powerless in the waiting, my hope is that you take courage, be fearless as you walk through what’s N E X T.
* Five days after I wrote this post my dear brother Florian left planet earth for what I imagine to be an eternal fishing trip in his little tinny boat. My heart is broken and the sadness is real, but he is now in a place of peace. Life is short, love big, wide & deep.