Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I won the lottery

Slow death or instant disappearing act? Which way would you have it?
With all the emotional upset that this slow-death process causes, I would still rather have a slow death than dying in an instant.
There's so much pain and turmoil in watching a loved one die, but the upside is that you know time is precious, you behave accordingly (hopefully) and you use the time well. Time becomes meaningful, or lack of time becomes meaningful. Dieing in an instant causes panic and confusion (among other things).

I write this today knowing that a loved one is now safe and sound and not near death (or imminent danger) - but for a few moments this person's fate was not known. There was (another) shooting in the US and someone I love was in that building. This really shouldn't affect me, I know, because I'm not her spouse or love her on "that" level however it made me stop, stand in stillness and think and reflect for just a moment had the text message been anything but what it actually was. When the text came in saying she was OK but I had not yet known what she was OK from, I actually replied jokingly "what there's an attack/shooting in DC?" Imagine my sunken heart when then answer was affirmative. How, in an instant, her life and the lives for those of us around her could have changed and how, at that moment, my shopping basket full of paints lay on the floor as I read my text with disbelief and worry.
I cannot even begin to imagine how worried her spouse is. If I'm shaken, spouse must be like a leaf blowing in the wind: shaky and fluttering. As the details came in I became more and more grateful for her safety.

Some argue that sudden death is easier - that you don't have to watch the loved one lose bits and pieces of their independence, their personality, etc. I do see and comprehend that point but I guess I've always believed that even when the memory etc. is gone, the spirit of the person is always there to connect with - until the day it just isn't there anymore. Death in an instant is not my preferred way to go, or to have loved ones go. It's too much of shock.

Today's events, this moment in time, has made me realize that as hard as my living with death is, I'm one lucky lady to have won the lottery of time. Yes, I won the lottery! I haven't been gifted with 'more' time. I have been gifted with the consciousness that I am slowly dieing (yes, I know, we are *all* dieing, that's the nature of living, but some journeys' are longer than others). Today it's a gift because it makes me be grateful for every waking moment, for knowing that I have some time left before I depart, that I can get around to saying the things I need to say to people and perhaps even finish smaller projects.

This gift is definitely a double-edge sword. The days when this gift is coated in gratitude are the days I feel special enough to know how precious my remaining time is.
The days when this gift is coated in depression are the days I feel overwhelmed, sad and angry that I just don't have enough time to complete my dreams & goals.