I see now that I have been both blessed and cursed in this life. I was once the luckiest woman on this earth. I had everything promised to us, and more. I counted my blessings every day, I lined them up and gave thanks to God and fate for what I had been given. And truthfully, I also lived in fear. I lived in a kind of terror that these things could be taken away from me at any time. Everything we build is so precarious, so delicately strung together that it sometimes takes only the slightest shift for our structures to tumble. I knew this in my bones at the exact same moment I knew how great my happiness was.
The truth is our most precious things are not meant to be held, no matter how tightly we clasp at them. We lose the things we think we cannot lose, we survive when we are sure we will drown. Because we are meant to go on. We are still here, the ones who have been left behind. And we will laugh again, eventually. We will feel excitement and desire and hope again – eventually. Life does come back. But make no mistake here. We are never, ever the same, those of us who have lost what we loved. There belongs to us now the deepest sadness, a soul-sadness that cannot be reached or soothed or repaired. Something is dimmed in the ones who survive.
Make no mistake here. We are never, ever the same. But it is what you do with these changes that defines you.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
It is not what Mike Keegan has in mind. I fold the statement into the smallest of squares and place it in my husband’s bedside drawer. The bottom one, next to his red shirt and a book he was once given by a woman who loved him, perhaps as much as I did. We must do right in this world. We must take care of each other. We must take care of what we have. And we must try to understand when the time comes for us to let go.
Eidyia’s note: Coming to the end of Anna’s story. Thoughtful, deep-water Anna whose lessons have in so many ways turned out to be my own. Thank you as ever for reading body, remember.