Life is such a mental exercise sometimes.
Yesterday morning as I was getting ready to leave to take my dad to dialysis, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, momentarily overwhelmed by what a seemingly constant struggle life has become.
I'm still trying to navigate my way through the muddy waters of childlessness (complete with new and dazzling special effects and stomach churning surprises at every turn), and at the same time I'm watching my dad slowly slip away, and desperately trying to cope with the grief that creeps into my weary head when I think of how little time I know he has left.
One of the older dialysis patients had his wife, daughter, granddaughter and two great-grandsons with him in the waiting room yesterday. The oldest boy, just big enough to be out of a stroller, was simply booming with little boy energy - something pretty foreign in a waiting room cluttered with wheelchairs, motor scooters, oxygen tanks, and tired patients.
I couldn't help but smile at them.
And then I couldn't help but feel empty as I watched the sweet scene unfold in front of me. My dad is easily as old as that great-great grandfather. I looked at their big, growing family, and I just felt so sad and defeated. And then, of course, guilty for not being able to give my family the extra light and life that two little boys - or even one little boy - can bring.
Light and life are markedly absent from our family right now.
I stared at the boys and their mom and her grandparents wondering what it must feel like to have so much pulsing, vibrant, loveliness surrounding you in such sad, desperate times. And I thought about how sweet it must be to live in a world where the proper order of things (with its tidy, A always follows B, reality) provides a measure of comfort and peace during difficult times. Old people get sick and die while babies are born, live, and nourish the family with fresh hope.
I couldn't take my eyes off the family. Watching them was an exquisite sort of agony, but I just couldn't look away. Mercifully, they left soon after their husband/father/grandfather/great-grandfather was called into dialysis.
And order returned to my world. Just me and my dad. No little boys trailing along behind to remind us that life does go on and that we will not be forgotten.
I've been trying, of late, to focus on my blessings - of which there are many - to keep myself from sinking into a self-pitying funk from which there is no return.
It works. Mostly.
But I'm still angry that this is my life right now. I'm angry that we're surviving more than we're living. I'm angry that joy has to be so hard won. I'm angry that my dad is suffering so much, and that we're all suffering the helpless agony of not being able to make him better.
It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair!!
But I know it's up to me to figure out a way to pry the good from all this and make my life about more than just the cumulative effects of its losses and sorrows and struggles.
I just hope I can muster the energy to do it. Again.