This morning I said goodbye to Grandma for the last time.
She hasn’t been well, but I didn’t realize the severity until a lady hugged me on the way in, saying she’s been thinking about us, eyes drenched with sympathy.
My guard flew up. Denial.
Grandma lay there unresponsive. We played her music on the piano, we read her Bible verses, we held her hand, told her we loved her, memorized her face, soaked in what it looked like to see the rise and fall of her chest.
My guard shattered. Reality.
It sucks, man. Losing a Grandma, watching your Dad lose a mother, being reminded that this is the way it goes and everyone you love is on the same route.
The pain of watching someone leave this world rang at a deafening echo. Inevitability was no longer background noise, it had its volume cranked way up.
I am dreadfully reminded that life equals loss.
The heaviness of life’s frailty.
As I’m watching Grandma labor for air, my brain is flipping through images of my other grandparents, whom I love so dearly. I know that day will be here before I know it. I look up at my parents through heavy eyes, knowing that day will eventually come. Even coming home to my dog, I pet him with extra attention, understanding that I’ll see his passing as well.
Everything suddenly feels yanked from my hands. Temporary. Fleeting.
The false control I found my footing on crumbles to a landslide. I feel anxiety creep in. "I don’t want to do this”, I think, “I don’t want those darker days ahead to happen. I’m scared.”
Scared. Actual, debilitating fear.
What, then. If this is the way it goes, what is my fear going to do about it? What is my clenching on for dear life going to do to make things stay? What will me digging in my heels against time do for anyone? It will only feed the delusion that I have some sort of say in the way things are and will be.
I think of an obstacle course I did this summer, where I had to run through a line of tires. If I watched my feet, I disorientated and stumbled. If I took the focus off my feet and kept my eyes up, my feet found their own place.
So I look up. I cry with God. I read more Bible verses. I keep my face up to the sky and off of me. Off of my temporary comfort and fleeting life I love. Because things get messy when my head is down.
I focus on the only thing I know will never change.
Face up to the sky. It’s the only way to grasp this sudden, uncontrollable life.