Yesterday one of my dearest friends posted about the death of a beautiful woman. The night before reading the post, I’d been writing an essay about kindness and how my first intimate experience of death changed me.
When there is a repetition of theme in my life, I pay attention; repetition is an aperture focusing my vision and asking me to consider the view, and while my life tends to be polite and kind with me; I’ve learned that if I don’t listen, it also gets shitty, just like I do, and will throw its toys at me if I don’t pay attention.
So I paid attention.
I read about her death and looked at her photos. She was stunning and bold and so much younger than myself.
I’d expected a car accident or cancer but no; she fell 150 feet to her death.
Last night I closed my eyes and imagined what that would be like. I tried to count the seconds and imagine the thoughts going through her mind…I was left with nothing but dreams and cliff edges and moments before I was received by the padded earth, my fall cradled; my waking life restored with a gasp and a jerk and a sigh of ‘Thank you, God.”
And then my thoughts took on the momentum of time, rushing past me;
You are falling.
In a few months you will be 39.
Eleven years have grabbed you and taken you with its wins and losses.
Your oldest is turning quickly into a teenager. All of the things you’ve wanted to do? There is no pause button. The past is written. The future is a wild inhale of air too fierce to process.
The moments? They just keep happening.
You will be 40 and then 50 and then 60…
My body was in a state of anxiety I hadn’t felt since I was 9 years-old and contemplating my mortality and wanting to know what would happen to the “I, Me, Myself” once my body stopped all of its effort or was ended in violence or disease.
Last night I felt my heart racing. I felt the way my mind clawed at what was inevitable and I breathed in and out.
I imagined the life and last moments of the beautiful woman and surrounded her with my greatest dreams of grace.
I whispered to my plummeting mind, “It is okay, dear one. Tonight you fall and fall and fall…until you learn to fly.”
I fell asleep putting my faith in the truth that we are all born and we all die and there is a great kindness weaving all of these moments together.
I fell asleep naming all of the things I’m grateful for that happen in-between.