In case you all are wondering, yes, I am still reeling from shock and grief. The ‘good’ news however, is that I have been able to find out what ‘happened’ to my friend. And, thank God, it seems she passed peacefully in her sleep. This is ‘good’ because I had been terrified Gloria had had to confront the reality of her imminent mortality; that it was literally something that stared her in the face and there was a moment or ten that she needed to reconcile with. You see the thing is we all know we are going to die; it is the one thing we can count on. But, regardless of how we feel about death and dying, having to confront it in real-time is a whole other matter. And, knowing some of what Gloria had already had to face in her short lifetime, I did not want her to have been scared. So, I am thanking God for this very small mercy.
Now, I am facing another problem, or maybe even a crisis, of my own. I am scared. Okay, terrified. Since the untimely passing of my friend, I have been confronting the parallels in our lives – social, academic and geographical – and realizing that she could have been me. The fear is almost paralyzing. Every ache means something. I am afraid to go to sleep; opting instead to try and keep watch over myself. Over my life. I am afraid for the plans I have in the future… what if I do not live to achieve or experience them? I am scared of losing those I love. Afraid to let them out of my sight. You see, that night Gloria died, I know she went about it the same as she always had, expecting to pick right back up in the morning. Except for her, morning never came. That could be me. You.
Today I said the words out loud, “I will need help with this.” I had planned on speaking with a therapist regarding my grief; but now I realize I also need to speak about my fear. Because, it is real and it is big. I am terrified of my life getting interrupted; and not some distant arbitrary time in the far-off future, but today. Tonight. Like hers did.
I am in tears again. For her. For me. You. For all that we could miss out on. I have plans. My daughter has them too. I want to see hers actualize. Shit! I have grandbabies to meet. Degrees to achieve. Love yet to give and receive. A life. My life.
Listen. Death came too close to me and I am not equipped to deal with all it means. I will get help for what I am feeling, because I know the worst thing I can do is to let my fears paralyze me to the point where I voluntarily stop living, loving, laughing, dreaming, hoping, planning, dancing, feeling, praying. So, I will seek the help I need to learn how to process this in the healthiest way possible. To learn how to smile again… and let it be true. I promised you all the truth of and from me, so this is it – my heart aches and I am now terrified to live because I could die.
Listen to me please. There are things in life that touch us and leave us. And then there are those that stay with us and alter our lives. Please, check in with yourselves often. See how you are doing. And, if you are not good or struggling, acknowledge it, then do something about it. Please. Take care of you. Embrace both your strengths and your weaknesses. Fuck that old commercial…absolutely let them see you sweat; I promise you it is okay. Ask for what you need; and keep asking until you get it. You deserve it.
I need help with this. And, I will get it. Because until I am stopped, my life is mine and God help me, there is a lot to enjoy.
To be continued…