Monday, August 18, 2008

That thing called Life

Today more than one person's life will change forever.
Someone will be shocked at how "normal" things felt this morning, before the sudden impact.
Someone else will know it's about to change, but they don't know quite how.
I sometimes wonder which is more difficult to handle.

And right now, as I often do, I am thinking about the many millions of faceless, nameless (to me, yet they all have names and they all have faces if I was able to see them all) people in the world who today will have their lives changed forever. It is more than sparing a thought for them. And it is something everyone is capable of offering people they will never meet. But to explain it in full would make this a humungous and off-topic post.

When I went through my first reeling life direction change, I stood in a bathroom at work and couldn't recognise my own face. That is how much I changed. I had morphed into somebody unrecognisable to me, but because it had happened so far under the surface, it wasn't until the next time I really tried to look at my reflection that I was so stunned by the fact that I didn't know who I was anymore. I vowed then to be more conscious in noticing when things were happening to me, however subtle, that were changing the person I knew as "me" at any given time.

The next time there was such an impact on my life was when I had Ella. I recall now that I would go to the toilets around the corner from the NICU and force myself to look in the mirror. Just to stay connected to my reflection. Ah, that's who I am. She's still there. Sometimes I'd even have to psyche myself up to go back - "Come on" - and I'd shake off my rising feelings of dread and yearning to take flight and desert all this responsibility. It was always a split second desire, but ultimately something I knew I didn't want to do. There aren't enough forces in the world that would have kept me from my daughter's side during her short, full, purposeful life. Note to self: I MUST remember to include this recollection in the book.

But I did learn how to balance protecting myself first - not necessarily putting myself first, more just going in to challenging and difficult situations with a full suit of armour on - with being present in the moment with someone.

I went through a really strange, enormous backward step about two years ago and it lasted for well over a year. Once again, I had to try and define who I was now - and integrate these new experiences with who I had been learning to become up until then. Not strange, though, that this coincided directly with having the LGBB. I was actually thrown more wide open with her birth and her staying in our lives than I had been with having Ellanor and experiencing her passing. By that stage, I knew all about how I coped in a life changing situation. Until... the next unknown one came along and changed my life again.

I find it so fascinating. Changing, evolving, pausing, striving, conscious and spiralling ever upward (for one can never truly "take a step backwards" - it's impossible because one cannot unlearn something unless, of course, they choose to forget and go back to sleep). It is life as I know it.

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