There are things that, if I stop to think about them too long or hard, make me want to cocoon with fuzzy socks and a Judy Blume book. Or a glass of wine and Stephen King (a book, not the man), also with fuzzy socks. Whatever the grownup equivalent is of sticking fingers in ears and singing really loud to drown out the undesirable.
One of the things that make me want to do this is the concept of mortality.
It’s simple, childish, and absurd. You see, I don’t want anyone to go anywhere, ever. Like, bear with me, my world is a hostage situation, and nobody leaves. I can stomach an eternity spent holding hands in a circle with everyone I care about. No one breaks the chain. Considering some of the personalities that comprise my fantasy crisis-of-eternity, there would likely be bickering, sarcastic banter, eventual coup attempts. But we’d stay. We’d stay and hold on and I could breathe when someone says the word death because I’d be able to look around that circle and see all those faces and all those linked hands and know that all is right with me and mine.
Almost four decades on this earth and I’ve grieved, sure. I’ve lost people-people and dog-people. I’ve lost places and hopes and pieces of myself. But overall I’ve been lucky. And I try not to look down the road too far because that’s where things get scary. You can’t see past where you’re standing right now, or shine a light down the tunnel to see what might be lurking in the shadows. You can’t call time-out and double check everyone’s seat belt. You have to just keep moving, step by step, holding on to the ones you can for as long as they’ll let you, squeezing hands of those just passing by and lock-stepping the others, the ones whose presence keeps you centered, or keeps you firmly in touch with who you are and where you came from.
I guess that’s where my comfort lies, what makes me less likely to round up all my people and ask them to form that human chain. It’s in that tunnel where all I can see is the ground beneath my feet and the people directly to my right and left. It’s sensing those behind me and feeling confident that there are others, some just out of sight, up ahead. It’s taking those steps we have to take and knowing that no matter what lies at the other end, or even how far the path goes on, my people are walking with me.
One of these days maybe I’ll be brave enough to fathom the unfathomable. Till then, please keep walking with me.