Once again, I'm participating in ChicagoNow's Blogapalooza. Our instructions were simple -
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post in one hour. Here is tonight's challenge:
“Write about your tomorrow. Not figuratively, literally write about anything that you hope, fear, believe, expect -- anything -- that you may experience tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is May 28, 2015. According to some, the world is going to end, at least if you live in California. There is going to be a supposedly rare alignment of the Sun, Mercury, Earth, Moon and Saturn which will cause a 9.8 magnitude earthquake, presumably along the San Andreas fault. Further predictions state the entire Pacific Rim is in jeopardy due to the interconnectedness of plate tectonics.
Of course, astronomers, meteorolgists, volcanologists, geologists and just about every other –ologist say hogwash.
I’m not worried about this latest end of the world prediction. Mostly because there would be absolutely nothing I or anyone else could do about it. If – or when –the big one hits our West Coast, it is the aftermath that needs to be feared more than the event itself. Unless of course, you live in California.
Tomorrow I expect to wake up as usual with a full calendar with which to contend. My day will start as it always does, thinking about how I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ll have my usual argument with myself over whether or not there is any point to keeping my eyes open. Then, the internal debate on the immediate past’s wisdom of scheduling things to do, making commitments, etc. will start. I’ll argue to myself that since I’m questioning it, I may as well do it, whatever it is.
This desire to just stay asleep, blissfully unaware of the world is not because I’m lazy. Though, telling myself I am being lazy is one of the better ways to guilt myself into moving. Guilt is a strong motivator.
Four years ago, I participated in a grief and bereavement seminar. Prior to arriving, we were all told to write a letter about our lost loved one, so we could get to know one another and the one we were mourning. The idea is sound, creating new memories in people who never met our lost loved one helps the bereaved focus on the person instead of just the loss.
At that point, even though I had been interviewed on live TV, spoken at events and talked to what felt like every newspaper reporter in the country, I wasn’t ready to share what I felt was all I had left – my most cherished, happiest memories of my son.
Rather than complete the project as assigned, I instead wrote about how I wasn’t ready or willing to share this piece, that it was all I had left. I went on to explain that because my son was my only child, because it was just the two of us for most of his life because his father and I divorced while he was still in diapers, what had been the driving force of my existence, my definition of self, the reason I got out of bed every day for more than twenty years, I felt I no longer had a reason to live. He was my purpose in life. Since he is gone, I no longer have a purpose.
Let’s just say I got pretty emotional. Thinking back, I’m surprised anyone could understand me, sobbing as I read the most raw words I’d ever uttered. I was a mess.
Part of the reason for completely breaking down was that was the first time I spoke what was in my heart. I had talked about my son many times, but never let out what the words felt like from the inside. The fact that I was, in mourning parlance, so very new to the journey of grief was another major factor.
The group hosting the event had by that point dealt with dozens grieving the loss of a loved one. The only people in the room who had not also experienced this loss were the professional running the seminar and a few from the host organization. And I scared them pretty bad. They thought I was suicidal.
The statement, delivered most matter of factly, that the center of my existence is gone and I no longer have a reason to live shocked them. It wasn’t intended to, and their reaction actually took me by surprise. While the words and the thought behind the words remain as true today as they were then, it doesn’t mean I’m going to kill myself. Or that I even thought about it. (I had, but that is a different story for a different day and really had nothing to do with my grief. Let's just say modern medicine is not always all it's cracked up to be.)
I can’t explain how that statement and a lack of desire to end my own life coexist so constantly, but they do.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up, and the final, irrefutable internal argument that will get me out of bed is simply this – my reason for being no longer exists. In order to find my next reason, I have to get up and go live.
Fear an earthquake? Not even a little bit. I’m scared to death I’ll never find another reason to live one one-millionth as fulfilling, meaningful or important as the one I used to have.
Scroll down to read other entries in tonight's little experiment
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