When we are young and in love, we are wrapped in the moment and focused on every smile, every kiss, every touch our lover bestows on us. We are unafraid and unburdened with thoughts of the future.
Then we get a little bit older and we are busy running after children and we don’t have time to think further than the next baby class, first day of school, summer breaks, Christmas gifts and graduations.
Except, maybe, when we lay in our lover’s embrace and the world seems so still and eternal, we imagine ourselves growing old together. We see ourselves taking slow walks through the neighborhood park, or going on exciting trips to exotic places. We envision us holding hands at our kids’ life events feeling proud and oh-so-blessed. We smile at the thought of kissing each other our last goodbye, our bodies old and wrinkled, well-worn from living a long life without holding back. And then, for a brief moment, we breathe together feeling each other’s presence, before we get up the next day and get back on the crazy roller-coaster of our life’s journey.
And sometimes, for reasons we could never understand, something goes terribly wrong and changes everything.
Like a powerful hurricane, or an earthquake, or a truck that looses control and crosses over to our side… or a tiny mutation of a gene that spreads rapidly, outsmarts all available treatments, resists prayers and healing thoughts and tears our lives apart.
I walked out of the hospital this past Monday, knowing that I would never again be able to hold my husband’s warm, soft hand in mine. My feet felt like led as I dragged myself down the bare hospital hallways. I sobbed loudly next to the old man in the elevator and sat in my car in the parking garage for a long time, before I could drive away.
I would have stayed there all night, drowned in tears and grief that had me in a tight grip, if a thought didn’t come to me: “It’s not the end, it’s only a transition.” I repeated it over and over like a mantra, or a prayer one says on a string of holy beads, and I held onto it like it was my life-line. “It’s not the end, it’s only a transition.”
And then, as the fear and grief began to lift, I said out loud: “Fly free, my love. Fly free. I love you.”
I drove home and hugged my sons. They knew. We were all prepared. We had time to get over the initial shock of having to give up our hopes that a miracle would indeed happen. We had a chance to say what we wanted to say to each other, and we did. Matthew was ready and we had let him go.
He passed away the next morning.
“He was a wise teacher of how to have peace in your heart, a smile on your face, food on your table, courage to love unconditionally, and the ability to forgive fully. He showed us how to love one another through his loving us.” – Sanya Mateyas, my sister