Saturday, December 6, 2008

Facing life head-on...

It is cold here today. Not just your basic cold, but the cold that comes with winter and wind. It cuts through the coat, the scarf and even the gloves don't hold it all out. You cover yourself with as much protection as you can but still it finds it's way inside your clothing somehow. Sometimes... life is that way.
I was talking to someone very dear to me a day or two ago. We were discussing the many ways we strive to prepare ourselves for things that may happen to us in our lives. Things that we may know could happen and so we look for ways to buffer the impact. We talk to ourselves some, we talk to God about it and we talk sometimes to those nearest to our hearts. There are times when we "zip" the coat up tight, believing that when we step out into the "cold", we will be protected and not feel the bite and sting of the harsh cold. The reality of life hits us and we find that somehow, we were not as prepared for the impact as we swore we would be.
I so often write in ways that compare life and nature and love and the world to one another. They do so parallel each other in so many ways. Songs that are our lives. Scenarios that are a mirror image of reality and fantasy. As the wind hits my upstairs window, it shakes it as if demanding entrance into my warm sanctuary. It whistles and sings a song as if to lure me out to join it. But I have been here before. I know that to open the window will let the winters breath into my home. I know that all the protection the walls and closed window offers will cease to exist should I open the window even a crack.
Back now to the discussion with the loved one. I explained and related to her the experiences of my own life. I know only to well that no amount of preparing, no matter how much you "bundle up", the cold reality will be strong and will do all it can to engulf you in it's grasp. So then, what do we do? The real question is that. Do we simply not protect ourselves and face the cold if it does come? Do we wrap ourselves in expectation and hope that we truly are prepared for anything that might come our way?
She is ill, as was my Sheila. Most that read my blogs know the story that is my life's experiences. I will not re-tell the story here. What I will say is this. I tried both ways to protect myself from what many believed was inevitable. I tried to cover myself and prepare for winters harshness. I was even certain at times that I had succeeded in being ready should the day come that My Sheila was called to heaven. We, as a couple, lived every day as if we both had a million more tomorrows and with the knowledge that there is NO promise given to any of us that tomorrow will come. Which one worked for us??? That answer lies in the final moments we shared together here on earth.
I was not prepared for the doctor to tell me he could not save her. I was not protected and covered when he said in just hours, my life would be forever changed. The moment of her going to heaven was as devastating as if I had never prepared myself. The tears and the sorrow and the loneliness that followed, the desire to have her back, to hold her once more and say all that I should have said was fierce and tore my soul apart. It's impact still, 3 years later, causing me to cry in the night or slip away somewhere alone and beg heaven to let me touch her once more. The learning that the pain and the immeasurable longing for her might never go away becomes that cold, gripping "winter" that leaves you praying for "Spring."
Is there something that consoles me? How do I make it through my days? I make it through because of the second option we had as one. We lived our lives to the fullest and never allowed the illness to dictate our lives. We walked through fires together and we came out still holding hands. We laughed at some of the things the illness brought and held one another when we cried. I console myself by remembering all the life we DID live, in spite of what Might happen. I smile at the thoughts that only she and I now share.
What advice to I give to this young lady that means so much to me? I told her to do Both. Prepare for winter in case it decides to show itself. Wrap yourself in the blankets of loved ones and tell yourself you ARE strong and you ARE prepared. Live life as you would had you never been told you might become ill. Live each day like it is one of a trillion still waiting to happen. Enjoy living and do the things you would do if you had forever but live them in a way that says if tomorrow doesn't come, I lived as if it would.
I say this to everyone who reads this. Whatever way you choose to face life and the things that may or may not come, do it as if they "didn't."

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