Voice Over - 22 March 2018

I am in a catastrophically bad mood at the seasons. I resent them more now than I ever used to. It’s the mortality thing. For decades I was privileged to be able to stick my head firmly in the sand with my ass waving in the air when it comes to mortality. Now I can’t. Now I see a sharp change in the seasons not as an opportunity to pull out new clothes, but instead as a reminder. It’s not going to last forever. This time I have right now… I don’t have any certainty whatsoever it will last. I have no guarantee he’ll be here the next time the leaves turn.

Of course, that was always true. There are no guarantees. The proverbial lightening strike is always rumbling in the clouds ready to take down someone or something critical to who we are. It’s always been there. Our coping mechanism, however, is to play a vast game of just pretend. We just pretend our children will make it to adulthood. We pretend that we are not subject to the law of averages, and that our lives, our country, our community is charmed. We have to. Otherwise, it’s all just too depressing to plug along.

But I’ve lost the resiliency to maintain that façade 100% of the time, that blissful state of wilful blindness where everything is normal and fine and okay and good. I can do it for hours, days… sometimes even weeks. And then the leaves will turn colours and the temperature drop and an enormous piano of fear lands on my head and crushes me for infinity amount of time. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, it feels like forever. I can’t breathe in these moments. My eyes burn and my chest tightens and I curl around my centre and rock until it stops.

Because that’s the other thing I’m learning. Even when you know your life isn’t charmed, you know a really bad thing is going to happen… you can’t hold that thought for very long either. Even in the face of certainty, something kicks in to make it stop. The muscles relax, the denial returns, the sniffles slow down, something prosaic intrudes. It’s cold in here tonight, and I need to get the duvets out, get them cleaned and fluffed up. I need to find my tights for tomorrow or I’ll freeze my ass off at work. Dean’s still here so I should make chili and cornbread this weekend, his favourite fall foods. It’s all so normal, just like it has to be.

We get through everything – even the worst things – and back to our baseline. And someday, I won’t be making cornbread in the fall, because frankly I don’t like it very much. Instead of rocking in fear of the future, I’ll be crushed by memories of the past. And the season changing will still hurt. Until the day it doesn’t any more.

I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says turn back.” ~ Erica Jong