Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What It's Like

I've been spending some time looking at old pictures lately, partly because it's something to do while I wait for the garden to need me and partly because pictures are a good way to remind me of the many things I want to say here. (Also, they make my posts look longer and give you something to do here if I'm babbling.)

This is a great picture:
It's Britt (second from left, for those of you who didn't know her when she was small) with her cousins, Chris, Bobby, and Megan. In case the giant mouse head on the lawn didn't clue you in, it was taken at Disney World where the cousins (and my sister Stephanie and I) had a grand time, marred only by the approximately three minutes that Megan - the youngest of the bunch - was lost. At Disney. The story had a happy ending (Megan's off at college preparing to be a doctor now) but anyone who's ever lost a child at the mall or the playground or in the house or at Disney knows what those three minutes were like. Panic. Fear. Dread. The overwhelming need to do something, to fix it, to make it right. The knowledge of the rightness of knowing that everything else must. stop. until this nightmare is over. The surge of adrenaline that makes you know you would do, could do anything...and then the crashing waves of relief when you see that tear-stained face, rushing towards you. You can breathe again and the anvil that was on your chest disappears and life. is. good.

Now, imagine - just for a moment - that the crashing wave of relief never comes. You will spend the rest of your life just inches from that place. Panic, fear, and dread live just below the surface of every minute of every day. And the world doesn't stop and the nightmare is never over but you have to find a way to breathe anyway. That's what it's like.


Lisa said...

Damn, honey. You could not have put this any more clearly. I have no words for this.

Kaethe said...

I literally cannot imagine this, in the same way I can't imagine any excruciating, unending pain. But you've brought me closer to imagining it. That particular terror is still likely to pop up from time to time.