Monday, June 11, 2012


At a time when I have been forced to look into the eyes of death, the thought that is emerging is that I am alive. This morning I walked for an hour along the river, nearly the entire length of Great Falls Park. I walked past the overlook where, over a year ago, I sat on a bench with Mike, who knew then that he probably was not going to survive the cancer. He looked into the distance and said, “I used to climb mountains.” Yes, he once was full of life and now he is dead.

Mike died, my brother died, my father died. But I am alive. I walked fast this morning, sweating hard, listening to R.L. Burnside. I chuckled at myself, amused that at that moment I was probably the only 64-year-old woman walking in Great Falls Park listening to R.L. Burnside on my iPod.

I stopped at 7-11 and bought an iced mocha coffee. I did it just because I could, because I am alive.

This isn’t a new thought but it changes shape, it looks different and smells different as time goes by. People I love have died, yet I have a separate fate from theirs. My life intersects the lives of others, including some with whom I have deep attachments. I don’t detach easily. Like duct tape on a hairy man’s chest, it hurts to detach. And for me the attachment lingers, slowly and painfully. But maybe that’s just the way I am—blessed to care deeply though cursed to feel the loss so intensely.

I want to celebrate the subtle nuances of life. I want to feel the heat of the day, I want to savor an iced coffee, I want to listen to music. I want to realize that my path in life has me here, now, that I can appreciate that in these moments I am alive.

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