“This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved,
but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away.”~ J.R.R. Tolkien ~
It's a memory so worn in my mind there is a long dirt path, winding but always stopping at the same place. Shortly after my young father passed from a swift-killing cancer, I became an eleven year old island unto myself. I spent a lot of time alone. Mom worked full-time and my little brother was always somewhere else. I gave new meaning to the term "latch-key kid." I would come home to an empty house. The empty house that was the coordinates for my father's last breath. I think about this now and wonder what that first day must've been like...getting off that bus, fishing the key out of my pocket. I probably stopped in the driveway looking at the looming structure. I probably marched right up to my giant, hands postured to open that door as quickly as possible so that I would not loose heart. The door. Open. Staleness. Quiet. Empty. Gone. What did that feel like to a barely developed mind and soul physically unable to comprehend what this trauma would mean in my life; compulsive desperation, looming fear, permanent uncertainty. Did the rooms echo just a bit more than usual? Was the light unable to push through those clacking felt wooden blinds? Would this happen to everyone in my life? Would they all leave? I think I went straight to the empty dining room where a hospital bed was so quickly removed. I think I stood right in the center. I think I held my breath...for 27 years...hoping this was a mistake and daddy would come through that door. He didn't.
I now know that I need to take this child of eleven years and hold her, comfort her. For years all I did was try to strangle her one way or another. I could not make peace. I could not stare it in the eyes with Davidic ferocity. We had a beautiful antique Singer sewing machine in the hallway giving a panoramic view of the cedar foyer, front door and driveway. Like a dedicated puppy I would sense when it was time for my masters to come home. When they did not, I lay paralyzed on that floor, fingers tracing SINGER over and over again. My heart felt stopped; in my throat. What if they did not come back? What if I really AM all alone? Will this house swallow me? For years, I had recurring dreams of that house, always in stages of disarray and construction. I finally realize what it means; that I was literally stopped developmentally searching for something to complete my house. This yearning led me all my life to search for things outside myself to change the way I felt, because I could not leave that house. I was stuck, tips of fingers sliding over black gilded letters. I am ready to get my slingshot.
How do I do this? I step through it. I find a comfortable place within that fear, uncertainty and desperation not to stay, but to move through; shake it up, turn it loose. Think of days as a child sitting on the ground. Through a boredom, you are picking at the dirt. You find that perfect rock, but its beauty is embedded deep in the earth around it. With marked determination you start out with small picks at it getting that sparkly earth under your fingernails, musty damp hits your nose. You just take it one small movement at a time, but you don't give up and you stop looking to see how far you have to go.