Friday, January 14, 2011

Surrounding The Moment

There is before The Moment, after The Moment, and The Moment.

Before The Moment there is stress, anxiety, fear, guilt. Cruel hope pervades: maybe we can put off The Moment one more time. Heavy sighs permeate the soul. Disbelief occurs before The Moment: how did I get here so quickly? Wasn't it just yesterday that…? But of course it wasn't just yesterday. Or, it WAS, but it was also last year, and the years that preceded that one. Back into time, before your life became what it is, so far back that you can barely recognize that life and the one you live now as actually belonging to the same person. And the guilt, the crushing guilt, is almost unbearable. Beating yourself up for past mistakes, harsh words, flattened palms that did not stroke, but struck. Odd, how close those words are. You try to convince yourself that abandonments from long ago were necessary, that they were protectionist. But that's all bullshit, really. What you want to do is apologize, take it back. "If I could have it to do again!" you say…but of course, you don't have it to do again. There is only now. Before The Moment. And it is terrible.

After The Moment there is grief, loss, emptiness, release. Tears come unbidden, seemingly without any provocation. Everything seems too bright, hard-edged. The soft world you'd become accustomed to is thrown into disarray. Nothing is as it was, and you are adrift without sight of land. But there is deep-seated thanks, as well. Thanks for what has come before, all the years before. Thanks that you have been able to give this one last, final gift. Melancholy happiness creeps in, happiness that The Moment is behind you, and there is only forward now. Time will heal, tears will stop, grief becoming acceptance becoming rosy memory.

And then, there is The Moment. It exists like the event horizon around a black hole, allowing only one direction of motion. The Moment is both a known quantity and completely unpredictable, and you shudder at the impossibility of that dichotomy. You say: "I know what will happen in The Moment, from point X to point Y to point Z." But that knowing does nothing to prepare you for its arrival, when anything might happen, any emotional rollercoaster might zip you around hidden curves. You cannot see the track ahead, and that is what makes The Moment so unbearable.

What we survive for is after The Moment. What we dread with black anticipation happens before The Moment. And The Moment is the nexus of hope and dread, light and dark, fulfillment and emptiness. There is power in The Moment, power we not only cannot control, but ultimately cannot even understand. And we weep for our smallness when measured against it.


Blogger Steph said...

Are you OK??

10:13 PM  
Blogger Animal said...

Ayuh, we're fine. Had a scare with 'Mona last week - who's turing 17 sometime this spring - and it's always hard to try to decide when euthanasia is the best course of action. It came to me that there's BEFORE this event, and AFTER this event, but the event itself is what gums up the whole works. Just…getting some of it off my chest.

Meantime: we've pulled her through for now, but of course at her age it's always sooner rather than later.


8:53 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Oh Scott, I know. The hardest thing about loving an animal is letting it go when the time comes. I'm glad you get a little more time with Mona. Djuna is getting up there too.

11:21 PM  

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