Maybe in the moments I find myself deeply entrenched in my grief, my longing, my dark dense despair, feeling there is no hope and no help and nothing, just nothing left,
…maybe right there and then I am as close to Life as one can possibly be.
Yes, Death too, Death is lurking just as uncomfortably close, because in that moment I am given a choice: Life or Death?
I chose Life?
I think that was my choice. My chest continued rising and falling after all.
I chose Life (or I was at least somewhere near the choosing).
But there’s often a deeper ache beyond choice.
It’s an ache that is calling ever so softly, ever so quietly, telling me how to pick up my body from the ground, showing me how to open my eyes, giving me silent instructions on how to move, how to stand, how to walk (crawl, sometimes crawl), circulating air in and out of my lungs while it demonstrates how to breathe;
Teaching me how to live;
Reminding me how to keep choosing this thing called Life over and over within the ache. Reminding me of the most basic, instinctual lessons of the body and the mind that were forgotten when Death offered the initial choice;
Teaching me how to live and how to keep choosing Life.
But it’s hard. It’s so fucking hard it hurts.
Because the choice isn’t always so easy, it hasn’t been for me recently anyway.
In times much like now, when I look back upon such recent nightmarishly terrorising moments, that feel like bare remnants of an existence, as tired as I am
(and by ‘tired’ what I really mean is: exhaustion weighted down in the very marrow of my bones, spreading through my tar-like blood and seeping out and then back in again through each laboured breath that I push and pull through my mouth),
I’m beginning to see that within every choosing of Life, Life willingly re-teaches me how to live and I am (most-often-un)willingly re-learning the lessons, and then a mountain of new ones each time too.
As choosing to live sometimes means learning the most basic (complex) lessons of ‘how’ and ‘why’ all over again. Some of these lessons carry this ache-yielding weight as I pull myself forward into time beyond the choice.
I’m not sure I ever know it in the there and then, even in the here and now it doesn’t feel certain; Death is certainly loud, clear, more palpably close and I’m not sure I have the capacity in the darkness to consciously know what I’m choosing, yet it’s there, Life is there, waiting for the invisibly, muted signal to take me by the hand and begin again to live.
Because it does. It always does. Given the nod (and the nod can be so small and insignificant that I don’t often recognise it for myself), Life will take me by the hand and remind me how to draw breath, and then another, then another, then another…
Then I’m feeling. Then I’m breathing. Then I’m aching. Then I’m living.
And this is Life, is it not?
So maybe, maybe, for as difficult, laboured and pained as each breath feels, maybe here, in the choice, in the time beyond the choice, in the fall and the breaking and the breathing and the ache, here is where Life comes close, here is where Life chooses me right back – because damn, it’s loyal like that.
I’m not saying I always acknowledge it, I’m not even saying I always want it, and I often don’t recall the choice being made, but today, in the ache, in the day beyond the day beyond the day beyond the ache, I can feel it: raw, real, ready…
Life stepped in.
Maybe Life was close all along.