I was standing outside of the local coffee shop on a warm summer’s day when my cell phone rang. A familiar voice traveled the radio waves from Colorado to Georgia, “I think it’s time for you to come back here,” said Beth, my mom’s hospice nurse.
My plan that morning had been to work. Order a latte. Write an article. Focus on anything except my life’s current state of free fall. But, we all know that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. Unfortunately, this time around it wasn’t life, but death.
The trembling began the moment I hung up the phone. My body sensing danger responded with a surge of adrenaline that made my teeth chatter, heart thump and hands turn cold. What can I say? Fight flight is no joke.
The combination of my mom’s terminal breast cancer diagnosis and new role of “single mom” had me on edge. One minute I’d be calm, the next unable to stop shivering. Unusually large clumps of hair covered the shower drain each morning. And, my already thin body had grown thinner since eating felt more like a forced regimen than an enjoyable repast.
That was two years ago. It feels both like yesterday and like another lifetime. While I can’t point to the exact moment when life started to feel more steady, it has happened nonetheless. It wasn’t quick. Nor was it obvious. Yet, over time, the once ever-present aura of fear, grief, loss and pain has receded into the background…for the most part. My foothold feels sturdier. The ground beneath my feet more reliable, and the teeth-chattering days further behind. That’s one of the beautiful things about time and space. We move through it, and things change. It does get better. It does.