Oh friends, what a gift today will be for you and to you. Writing can be quite a solitary occupation, so one of my favorite things about stepping into the world of writing is the community of writers I’ve come to know – and the gift of my new writer and speaker friend, Adelle, is nothing short of lovely, raw and powerful. Enjoy.
The moment was neither grand, nor conspicuous. It was quiet and still — in the small hours of the night. There was no fanfare, nor excitement.
There were hardly even witnesses.
She called our house late, calm and resolute.
The doctor said he won’t make it through the night. Will you come with me? I want her to have time to say goodbye.
Their daughter was still tiny, barely aware her father would not be coming home from the hospital, uncomprehending the magnitude of that night.
Her father had been ill a while. Her mother had time to prepare, it was not a surprise. She was ready, as ready as one can ever be to say goodbye to your husband. But now the time had come and she was alone. There was no family nearby to go with her. There was no one else, so she called us. Nearly strangers but for the proximity of our homes. Before this night our relationship had consisted of nothing more than waves exchanged as we pulled in and out of driveways.
But tonight she called us, and so I went, weighted down with the burden this night would carry.
I followed her on rain-slick streets in the dark to the hospital parking lot, strangely full for so late at night. We went to the ward where he lay unaware, slipping, slowly and steadily slipping, into another world. They went inside, I went to the waiting room, ready to take their child home after she had said her goodbye, to stay with her there until the end had come, and her mother could come home.
The waiting room was small, brightly lit, and windowless. Had I been closer to this, more emotionally involved, I would have found the room claustrophobic and disrespectful. Too bright for grief. Too small for this kind of pain. Time felt different as I waited there and I wondered how many others had sat where I sat, keeping vigil, waiting and wondering when.
A few minutes, maybe hours later, and she opened the door. Tears streaked her face, still calm and resolute.
He’s gone. Can you stay a little longer before you take her home?
And so it was in that tiny moment, a life slipped away.
A moment so small, and yet, enormous.
Three lives altered. One ceased to be, two left behind to pick up the pieces.
I drove the little girl home and put her to bed. I read her a story about princess ponies and none of it made any logical sense. There should be more to mark the end of existence, but there wasn’t. Life is simply to continue, to move on.
She went to sleep, his daughter, peaceful and unaware of the magnitude of that night.
I sat in the darkened house and wondered how it can be so small, and yet, enormous, all at once.
Perhaps every moment on this earth has the capacity to be as such. Small, yet massive, all at once.
Lives don’t end with trumpets, angelical pronouncements. Every day they begin, and every day they cease, and it is those of us left behind that pick up the pieces, continue, and move on.
Living again in spite of the massive extraction that occurs. Finding meaning in the meaningless. Knowing that the smallest of moments can be the ones that change your life forever.
“Trying to live life with a little grace, a little humor, and great shoes.” Writer, speaker, and wife to her first love, Adelle is a former marketing executive turned boy-mom. She now spends her days on staff at the Campbell Church of Christ, and her evenings trying to keep the house from burning down. She has two boys, ages 10 and 6, two cats, and a dog (who may also burn the house down). When not writing, you can find her reading, digging in the garden, or shopping for shoes. She blogs weekly here, and you can also find her writing in places like (in)courage, Raising Boys Media, ParentLfe magazine, SpeakerChicks. Want to read more? Follow Adelle on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Adelle, the moment you captured was truly a gift to us all. Thank you. Friends, how did Adelle’s words inspire you today? DO cheer her on!0