Juxtapositioning

words are foreplay for the soul
January 16th, 2010

Not alone

The room was spare. The single bed, covered in a mauve quilt, was pushed against the wall. A gray and white stuffed dog sat atop the nearby dresser. A single, empty chair filled the space next to the bed.

The woman lay on her back with eyes closed and mouth open, her body slight under the quilt. Her breaths came hard, ragged, with spaces in between. The sound of her labors filled the room.

We quietly arranged ourselves on chairs we had brought for the occasion, facing the woman in the bed. She kept on with her breathing.

One of us whispered. “We’re here to be with you on your journey.”

Hearts lifted in song, quietly, softly.

Out. In.

Above her body, the woman greeted us, smiling, welcoming. We sang.

Others gathered above the woman’s body. A boy she had played with as a child. Family, friends. All her selves through the years. They crowded in above her, waiting. We sang.

Out. In.

We watched for the fall and rise of her chest, our notes matching a dwindling cadence. The people waited.

“I’m glad you’re here, ” the woman said to me. “No one else here can hear me.”

“It’s okay,” I told her. “This can be time. Look, they’re here.”

Out. In.

Our repertoire complete, we gathered our coats and chairs and left the now crowded room.

Out.

December 3rd, 2009

Transition

A hospital bed stood in the center of the room, once a living room. Now it was a dying room, its walls covered with loved ones’ artifacts and memories. The man in the bed was tiny, shrunken, his body barely visible beneath the sheet that covered him. Only his feet and one hand created small hills in the otherwise nearly-flat landscape. His face was turned to one side and his eyes never left mine. Hold me, they said, I know everything. Hold me.

The skin of the man’s face was surprisingly smooth, as if all the cells of his body had ceased their normal work and instead concentrated on making his skin look like a teenager’s again. His eyes looked out from inside deep dark recesses that were two small caves in his face. His eyes spoke. I know everything. I remember when I was a tiny jumble of cells, a zygote. I remember the feel of the wind on my skin, of the sight of birds flying overhead. Once I wanted to fly with them. Now I have become part of this sheet, this bed, this room. I feel myself getting bigger and smaller at the same time. Hold me.

I held him. Softly I sang, surrounding him with song, and the notes became bigger and joined with his spirit, his life essence, that stood just behind him. Together we kept expanding, my clear high notes and his eternal life presence, becoming as large as All That Is, spinning into the heavens. The memories in the room applauded. This is what they had come for.

Gently I placed a hand over his that lay beneath the sheet. His body-shell trembled. His shrunken chest rose up and down, guiltily, tiredly. I felt the nearly-constant tremor in his hand soften. The notes rose and fell in rhythm with his chest. Sleep, his eyes said. Sleep.

Soon, promised the notes. The memories in the room swelled with appreciation. Soon. The body-shell sighed. The mouth spoke but the words that fell out were from another time. The notes receded. Cells quivered. Soon.

November 18th, 2009

What do you do when you just want to die?

Right now, in this moment, I want to die.

While this isn’t purely hypothetical, please don’t freak out. Don’t refer me to a suicide hotline. Don’t tell me I need counseling. Because baby, I can guarantee you 100 percent that I am not the only person in the Universe who feels this way — at least sometimes. Momentarily. But I am one of a handful who is willing to talk about it.

It wasn’t long ago that I first began really embracing this feeling when it comes up. Emotions, to me, are waves. They come, they go, they move through and around and beyond me. Ripples in a pond. Yeah, I’m an emotional person. I would be the first to offer that. And that glorious aspect of me made people around me uncomfortable as a child, so I learned to push it away. Was I successful? Not so much.

Feeling of helplessness, anger, and hopelessness have always been oddly connected for me. I know it has much to do with a panoply of things like that initial childhood dynamic and other perceptual choices I made. I sort of love the irony in that my work, my love, is about helping other people through similar spaces. Healer, heal thyself, right?

So I offer this.

I don’t think of death as something to fear. Yeah, people would miss me. Yeah, there’d be things I wouldn’t do, lives I wouldn’t touch, if my body was no longer infused with my essence. Do I feel a sense of responsibility about that? Not really. I’m all about letting go of responsibilities that aren’t mine. You over there — you have your own life to live irrespective of mine. Even though I love you unabashedly the way I do.

Death would be a respite. In the space I’m in right now, which is ALL ABOUT hopelessness, letting go of that sounds fantastic. Brilliant. The best idea ever.

So this is what I do when I feel like this.

Nothing.

Nothing special, anyway. I don’t try to get over it, past it, or beyond it. I make a pot of congee. I take a shower. I hunt for new apps for my iPhone. I Twitter and Facebook, feeling the interwoven tapestries of all to whom I am connected. I listen to my love laughing upstairs. I write about whatever comes to mind. I breathe, not in any special way. Just in and out.

That’s it. Nothing changes, not for now, but everything changes. Annica.