I can't sleep tonight. My bed feels off - the sheets writhing with imagined insects, my skin hyper-alert to every cat hair and dust ball collected on the sheets through the day. It's too warm, and yet lacks comfort. And my brain. My brain is recounting all the death that seems to be every where I look of late. So close, and getting closer.
My Grandma's death in May was a respectable death. A tolerable one. We who loved her knew she was ready, had her faith and a long life well lived to guide her on her way. But since then ... it's just loss after horrible unsupportable loss.
Local children being snatched from their mother's arms by cancer - Justin Plunkett. Baby Molly. And friends of friends being robbed of their hope and dignity before finally giving up their lives to cancer. Nearly every day on Facebook it seems someone new is mourning someone stolen from them. Babies and children, or adults in the prime of life, all with much living left to do.
And tonight my sons' cousin - my former nephew and one time adorable ring bearer - is being kept alive by life support machines. At 31, this husband and father of 2 young sons had what we think at this point (and I may not have the most accurate information) was a massive heart attack while on summer holiday visiting his mom. His young wife performed CPR for 20 minutes until the ambulance arrived.
I ... I have no category to put this in. Someone who was once dear to me, but through the violent disruption of divorce has been severed from my family tree. And yet he is close kin to my sons. It's a bizarre situation allowable only in this broken-down modern world. How do I offer condolences to my one-time sister-in-law who watched her only son fall to the floor? How do I console the niece-I-no-longer-have on the devastating loss of her protective big brother? Will a card sent with her cousins contain any meaningful solace?
And then there's that other issue. How do we keep death at bay? How do I keep my own sons safe? How do I stop that worst of nightmares of outliving a child?
I wrote earlier tonight
death feels too close these days
& like only living fully will keep it at bay
I crave softness for my loved ones and
compassion for the world
... but that will not help me sleep. Sleep is for those who haven't seen the death peering in the window.