Monday, March 15, 2010

The Invisible City of the Long Long Fall

There is that point as you are falling down the hole when you stop screaming. When the terror, though at your fingertips, recedes long enough for you to realize that you have not yet been smashed to a million pieces at the bottom.

That you cannot even see a bottom.

That you are still falling.

That you may be here for some time.

I am in the invisible city of the fall. In this darkened tunnel I can see nothing but a faint dimness ahead. It is not a light. It is the death of light. Or at least what light looks like when it is dying. And yet, and stubbornly yet, I am still alive in here. My heart beats. I can taste my last meal in my mouth. Should I be able to scream I would hear my voice. I know that the world exists up there from where I fell. People walk the sidewalks. Animals prowl the back alleys. Babies cry at night and stars, oh the many stars are out. I just no longer am with them.

Willa has a mysterious constitution. We hope we may have another year with her. I am infinitely grateful for this. A year at least! Of course there are the endless caveats soaked in legalese. We really have no idea. She has always, from her beginning written her own story. But we can hope.

I have learned some interesting things about the limits of one’s strength. I have learned some interesting things about the duality of a daily existence falling into an abyss. Endless falling, no impact. That it takes energy. That there is endless energy involved in continuing to breathe. That it takes energy to remember that the end is not yet here. (Don’t rush it by thinking too much about what is coming. It will be here soon enough.)

I have learned that it takes energy to watch television with your child instead of placing them in front of a sunset, an Easter egg hunt, a dolphin breaking water. It takes energy to give yourself liberties. It takes energy to allow for bathing, sleeping, dressing; the business of life.

Because Willa is not going to die tomorrow, only sooner than we would have ever wished. And in the meantime, we fall, but the heart still beats, we still hear the voices of those around us, we still have to eat, dress, rest and allow for all the weakness brought forth by the incredible energy lost in this battle to keep it all together.

I am falling down and down. Deeper and deeper into a world I never hoped to explore. But the more I fall, the further I get, the more I realize that it is a warren of interconnected tunnels here. There are wires lining the earthen walls, connecting to other wires in other tunnels, in other free falls. There are caverns connected to caverns reserved for parents struggling to maintain life while death surrounds them. There are the sounds of other screams down here. There are silences shared between parents who are falling parallel to each other, in our own invisible ways. We may not be able to see each other but the deeper I fall the more I feel them out there. The more I feel you all out there.

There is that dim light growing more distinct every day. The light that signals an end to all this. But it is still a long way off I hope. I hope for time. I hope for mercy. I hope for all of us to survive the fall.