awake

awake

I had a terrible nightmare the other night to the point that I might have nearly sprained my ankle in my anguish to help in the dream world. I was skiing (have never been so good job, Dream Anne, on the imaginative aspect) behind a friend when she fell through the ice/snow, only to be swallowed whole. I knew she was somewhere beneath me and pounded the surface below me to try to break her free. I woke up in a sweat with both feet bent as if I had been stomping and my left ankle throbbing.

I hobbled into the coffee shop the next morning, too embarrassed to explain it was from sleeping. It jolted me awake both literally and in the sense that I remembered how quickly everything can change. Sometimes I forget, even when my past has made it very clear otherwise. It’s a unique feeling to look around and be both utterly grateful things are as they are and knowing that “the glass is already broken”.

Since my grandma died, I’ve been trying to think more and more from her perspective. I remember her saying to me, “Everyone I know is dead.” Tonight, while talking on the phone with a dear childhood friend I could imagine a whole life ahead of him in a way I usually can’t for myself and I wanted to witness every moment of it. I want to be the person saying, “Everyone I know is dead” having walked each of my loved ones home. At the same time, I don’t know how one bears it. I’m sure I asked her at some point but I can’t remember her answer. Knowing her, she shrugged and said, “Well, that’s life.”

Something clicked when thinking about her today though — one is stuck in limbo when your peers are gone yet the generation below you is too far below that you can’t reasonably see life through with them. It made me wonder about how best to curate multi-generational friendships and how life giving they can be for all involved. I learned so much about death in watching her face it and holding her hand through it. What an isolating experience to be waiting your turn. I must remind myself how much of a gift it is that she didn’t die during the pandemic, despite her brief vaccine strike.

Life feels extra precious and distant at the same time this week. I chat with friends and can’t believe I get to know them in this lifetime that I sometimes lose track of what they were saying. Simultaneously, I feel a deep exhaustion in my bones that I can’t shake–I know the pandemic’s toll still sticks to me. I know it still hasn’t sunk in that she won’t be there the next time I head to FL. I feel so very awake yet so very tired.

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2 responses to “awake”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Anne. The writing is very strong and brings out deep emotions as I read through it, specially this line “Something clicked when thinking about her today though — one is stuck in limbo when your peers are gone yet the generation below you is too far below that you can’t reasonably see life through with them. ” and “What an isolating experience to be waiting your turn.”.

    I can imagine how lovely your grandmother was as was mine. It’s great that you got to cherish the precious moments with her, you are lucky.

    I always say old age is a beautiful way to say goodbye to this world, otherwise we will never want to leave. It’s terrifying and eye opening at the same time, and the fact that you got to witness this first hand is a blessing in itself.

    I hope it gets easy for you with time, stay strong!

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