Like a melting icicle mightily holding onto a gutter or a sandcastle teetering on the edge of the shore line – all things beautiful come to an end. Insert as many clichés as you remember: nothing lasts forever; live each day as if it is your last; cherish the moment; every cloud has a silver lining; everything happens for a reason…blah blah. Quite honestly, most of these catch phrases tick me off. I see them as a way for people to cope with the uncomfortable or settle for crap. I don’t like it; not one bit. This, however, is all my problem because I CANNOT accept it.
If you know me, this post will not come as a shock to you. For those reluctantly peering in through the window, I’ll give you a little show. Every now and again, I take a short break from the day-to-day craziness. I imagine that most people would embrace this type of break; I try my damnedest to escape. This downtime tortures me with reminders of life’s fragile state. My runaway train is heading toward a milestone birthday – yes, ladies and gents, I will be 35 in a little over two months. Sure, sure, I’ve heard all the comments: “Oh, Puhleeze, girl, you’re only as old as you feel”, “Thirty-five? Talk to me when you turn 40!”, “Well, you don’t look a day over 25!.”
I do feel old. Don’t misunderstand: my body is in great shape (well…better than ‘good’ shape), I don’t think I really look 30 (maybe that’s a stretch) and I’ve successfully managed my coarse grays (at least that’s what I believe). I have a great memory – I might not remember where I placed my keys, but I remember the outfit I wore on ‘clash day’ during spirit week in 9th grade. Another year ticks by and I cannot believe my age. I distinctly remember being a chubby girl in Catholic school with my pink-rimmed glasses. I turn around and see my parents, clearly older, holding their grandchildren and bouncing them on their knees like my grandfather did to me. I run my fingers through Allison’s wavy tendrils as I remember mine pulled into short pig tails. In the present, this makes me smile, but give time to reflect and I’m a puddle.
At the end of this past week, I had the unpleasant experience of attending the services for a former co-worker’s young daughter. As expected, everything was so overwhelming. I found it difficult to breathe as we wove through a maze of picture collages, karate trophies, awards and a display of the girl’s communion dress. The maze opened up to the viewing room where I spotted my co-worker and his family. I paid my respects while choking back tears. This situation hit too close to home. I’m searching for answers; I’m looking for the silver lining, if you will humor me. My questions are too much to entertain. But, why, why do our hearts grow to love and hope, when it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye? How can our lives be sprinkled with sweet kisses and smiles, with sunshine and stars to have it crumble like the castle on the shore? How can I rid myself of this thought-provoking poison? Maybe I push hard to fight the age or run to outrace the fire of the Phoenix. But, much like the fire, life is all consuming; we will yield to the dying of the light. Through pain and tears I’m going to keep fighting like hell.