so here’s the thing…
I live each and every day with a low-level anxiety coursing through me. It never goes away. sometimes it’s more of a babbling brook, and sometimes… it is Niagara freaking Falls. I am always, ever-aware of just how fragile and fleeting life can be.
it’s not that I walk through life in fear… it’s more of a respect. an appreciation. I try not to get caught up in the things that take away from that appreciation. Sometimes, I don’t do the dishes. because I’d rather spend that time snuggling with my toddler. sometimes I do the dishes, because I just can’t stand the clutter.
it’s a fine line.
Some days I get a twinge, an odd feeling… so I send out an extra bubble of light and protection for those I love, you know, just extra insurance. but some days completely sideswipe me.
yesterday I received a text from my niece.
She and her husband were in Hawaii celebrating their anniversary.
“Turn on the news and tell me what you can find out about missiles launched at Hawaii. I’m not kidding.”
I had to read it three times. because her words just wouldn’t sink in. Surreal. This can’t actually be happening. Tell me this is not actually happening. And then my heart froze. And in that moment I felt completely, horribly, heartbreakingly… helpless.
I searched for information. Nothing. I couldn’t find anything.
Time slowed down. every second was precious.
I’ve been there before. locked in those moments of acute awareness. when everything has slowed down, and every passing moment is laid out clear and plain. when time is moving in both directions and you know you can do nothing to stop the momentum, but you pray and beg for just one. more. second…
I was there. the day the nurse stepped into the room and told us they were “doing everything we can.” the day my sweetheart had open heart surgery and almost didn’t leave the operating room on this side of the veil.
it’s a painful place to be. it’s hard to catch your breath. stuck in the almost-moment. you know there is still hope, that it’s not yet a done deal, but that hope is completely terrifying. and you’re afraid to give it too much space in you.
so you hold your breath.
“the text said this is not a drill.”
My mind would not wrap around what was happening. would not accept the words I saw on my screen. at the same time, I was painfully aware that I only had minutes left to communicate with my precious niece, this darling girl who is more like a sister to me, a best friend, and one of the gentlest souls I know… and my heart broke.
I sobbed. I sent a ridiculous text… “Please don’t die in a fucking nuclear attack.” (because stressful situations make me say strange things) and then I said the only other thing I could say. The thing that had to be said.
“I love you.”
and then she called.
and my phone locked up.
and I lost my mind for a moment or ten.
I may have yelled at my phone. You choose NOW to freeze!!!!!!
it wouldn’t respond. wouldn’t power down. wouldn’t reboot.
I wanted to hear her voice. I wanted to tell her I love her.
it. took. five. full. minutes.
five. minutes. five minutes of waiting. wondering. shaking.
and then it finally powered down and rebooted.
and there was a text waiting for me.
“it was a false alarm.”
I called her. Our voices shook.
Crying. Laughing. Laughing. Crying.
Later, she sent beautiful photos of them with mountains and mist and beautiful greenery behind them. and another with the incredible vast ocean churning and frothing and throwing itself against the rocks, and a text that read “we went on a super terrible dangerous road today, too.” And I said “well. I mean, what’s a dangerous road after a missile threat.” (Because when things are, or have been, too heavy, I make light. Always.)
Life can be really scary y’all.
But sometimes it’s the scary stuff which reminds us, and allows us, to better appreciate all the beautiful stuff. To be grateful. And to say I love you. Every. Fucking. Chance. We. Get.