Monday, March 06, 2017

How did that happen?

As a kid, my mother would occasionally say, "You know, when you get older, time speeds up."

Back then, when she said it, I scoffed and sighed, wishing I was already older, that I was out in the world with so much ahead of me instead of bored beyond words staring out the window waiting for something to happen.

Two days ago I said out loud, "I am halfway between college graduation and retirement. These are things I have to think about."

That sentence is still echoing in my head. And there's this flavor of residual horror in my mouth.

Was I abducted by aliens? Was I lazy in remembering to enjoy myself? Should I have been more meticulous in my documenting of the life I've lived? Should I just try to forget it all or try to remember it all? Should I call my mother and apologize?

I think of her not only because she was so fond of that phrase I did not believe, but also because I am releasing the second book in my seven-volume "Little Deaths" series via Obelus Projcts tomorrow. The book is ostensibly about my father passing away when I was 13, on the second day of eighth grade. But it's really about my mother in many ways--about seeing her from an adult perspective for the first time in my young life, and realizing that she could not be many of the things I thought I needed her to be at the time.

Today, I am one year older than my mother's age when my father died. I cannot even fathom what it might be like in my current brain and body to have three children, a partner who has suddenly disappeared, and a lack of workforce skills or understanding of what to do next. I've of course experienced my fair share of deaths since that time. But writing this made me understand more acutely what it means to be the one who is still alive after a person is gone.

There are parts of this story of the year after my father's death that still make me cringe, tear up, smile, and even chuckle. I also know that one's faith is a very personal thing, so my story of losing it is perhaps not for every one; it's not universal. But it is true.

Time does indeed seem like it keeps speeding up, Mom. Let's stop worrying about it roaring past us as we stand there, feeling helpless. Let's run and catch up with it.