It is truly amazing. Every time I question why I am here in this odd land, this exquisite ether, an answer comes. This happened to me just yesterday. The truth is that I am having a hard time figuring out what I want and what I need these days. My instinct is telling me to spend less time tapping keys and concocting chapters and to focus more on family. My gut is telling me to cozy up to my growing girls, to pause and enjoy this final half of my final pregnancy. But my mind is mottled with the chatter of my fictional characters, the new kids on my literary block. At day and at night, they whisper for my attention. And then there is this blog, this haunt of mine that has in so many ways become like another child. Needy. Lovely. Exhausting.
But this blog? It is not a child. It is a thing. Just a thing.
So, why? Why do I keep coming here and scattering confetti of self and story and struggle? Why do I feel so compelled to put myself out there, in here, to broadcast who I was and who I am and who I am becoming?
Because. Self matters. Stories mean something. Struggle unites us.
Yesterday, I clicked on a link shared by my good friend Lindsey on Twitter. Lindsey has raved about fellow writer and blogger Katrina Kenison and yesterday, I made my way to Katrina's blog and read what she wrote about losing her dear friend this past weekend:
Death and life, one inextricable from the other. What I know for sure now is that a heart can accommodate both, a home can accommodate both, a family can accommodate both... We may not know what to expect from death, or whether we are truly up to the task weve taken on when we promise to stay near. And then, having made clear our intention to be present come what may, we find that even in our most challenging transitions, we do know what to do. Our hearts tell us how to make love visible. Our hands know, without being taught, how to soothe a brow, change a sick bed, tend a body. Dying is hard physical work, protracted and laborious in one so young and otherwise healthy. And, despite the most attentive ministrations, lifes final stages are not always beautiful. To be human, it seems, is to suffer and to pray for an end to suffering. And then, in life's final moments, there is peace, and grace, and even, for one brief instant, a glimpse of the great mystery beyond this earthly realm.
I read this and nodded because it made perfect, palpable, profound sense to me. I have been there. By the bed. Saying an impossible goodbye. It was Katrina's friend. It was my Dad. But, really, so much was the same. There are universals here. Wrenching universals. And I am not yet ready to go there, to write about the details of my experience, my loss. But I am ready to read words that make me recognize and make me feel and make me remember.
Words that make me realize something so important: I am not alone. In this dance of life and death, we never are.
This realization, timely as ever, is why. Why I come here. Why I want to. Why I need to.
This blog? This place? This world? These words? These neighbors in this invisible land? These things are not just things. They are so much more.
Thank you, Katrina, for your words. For sharing the realness of your rawness. I look forward to reading more of your words. And thank you, Lindsey, for pointing the way.
Do you blog and read blogs in part to connect with others in this dance of life and death? Do Katrina's words speak to you and make you nod? Are you part of the club? Do you struggle with questions of what you want and what you need?