I found out today that someone I (kind of) knew died this week. Actually, I only knew her through my hair, she cut it several times, so clearly I didn't know her much at all, but there's something about the connection a girl can feel with her stylist. I'm not claiming that we had some deep and meaningful bond, just to say that when I sat in her chair and we chatted it felt good and nice and right.
She was only a few years older than I am, a sweet young woman who seemed happy and cheerful. Her smile was warm and dazzling and her eyes full with joy. She was just filled with so much life. Which seems like a ridiculous thing to say because obviously everyone is filled with life when they are alive, but I guess maybe that's what makes it hard to believe she's not anymore.
I am sad and upset and confused. I ache for her young daughter who is around the same age as my older girls. My mind is spinning and there is fear and anger bobbing up and down. I imagine being here for my girls one day and the next day being gone and what that would do to them and who they are and how they grow up. I can not imagine how traumatizing it would feel to be a little girl who's mother is suddenly gone, who's whole world is abruptly pulled out from under her, who will grow up with such limited memories with her mother.
When I lay down for a nap today I kept wondering what my girls would remember about me. Would they remember anything other than my frequent naps?
And yet, even with my fear about what kind of mother memories my girls would have should I die, I spent most of the day wanting to stay in bed and be away from my children. I felt frustrated and irritated and short of patience. I wanted to hug them close and reassure them that I'd never ever leave them, yet I wanted complete and total space. I wanted to be left alone to feel all the confusion without interruption from little mouths.
I don't understand. And I suppose I'm not meant to. But when something like this happens the world feels unstable. I am awkward and uncomfortable, trying to adjust to this dramatic tilt. I question how and why and tremble in fear at the thought of what (if anything) comes after this.
As a human I want to make sense of things, even the things that I am not to understand. I like my world to be clear and concise and easy to categorize. I don't like gray areas and ambiguity. Unfortunately, the world does not conform to me and my desires to be able to put everything into little boxes, but luckily I am slowly learning how to understand that I can't understand the world. I am slowly learning to open my heart to what is real. I am slowly learning that fighting against what I can not control or change hurts me more than letting go. I am slowly learning to accept the world as it is. In all of its pain and beauty. And I can only hope that we all can find a way to do the same.
But death, it is still death. It is still painful. It still hurts beyond belief.
Tonight I will close my eyes and see a bright and beautiful and whole woman. And say an extra long prayer for a hurting family.