One particularly horrific nightmare takes place on the section of I-80 that crosses over an enormous quarry. It's so massively deep, you can't see the bottom, no matter how hard you stretch your neck as you're zooming over. In the dream, I spin out, and my van teeters on the edge, dangling but swaying in a way that I know means we are going over, and nothing I can do will save me or my children. The entire dream consists of me looking back into their eyes, reaching for their hands as we start to fall, and calming the panic that is trying to make me pass out. And I repeat, "I love you. I LOVE YOU. I love you..." I can feel the acceptance of the knowledge that this is how my children's last moments on Earth will be, and all I can do is try to make it peaceful...
Corinne has a tendency to ask me deep questions. Shit, all of my kids have that tendency. The main ones being "Why are we HERE?" and "What happens when we die?" These questions are usually asked at the most convenient times possible, i.e. in the van as we're pulling up to a sporting activity.
My answer to the former is, as always, that we are here to love each other. End of story. We are not alive to build skyscrapers or create "masterpieces"; we do not exist to worship deities or "change the world." We exist simply to love. I know that when I die, I will hold this truth in my heart; I have loved many, I have loved fully, and I have been loved in return. What more can anyone ask?
My answer to the latter is, as always, that nothing in the natural world ever ceases to exist. It just changes. Trees become logs that burn and become ash; it floats away with the wind, lands on the Earth, and becomes nutrients in the soil so that new trees may grow again. Boulders become sand, and glaciers melt into the oceans. Everything on Earth becomes something else, including energy. Why then would anyone think that the energy that fuels the human heart would ever cease to exist? Just because we cannot fully comprehend what it is exactly that happens when our hearts create their final beats, doesn't mean that the answer to the most existential question is "A Void of Nothingness."
Justin did some shopping for me at WalMart yesterday. He hopped back in the van and said that the one item he couldn't find were the molds for the popsicles I wanted to make at home. "I asked TWO workers, and no one could find them! They think they sold out because they were such a great price."
I told him it was ok. We could figure out a different way to craft the frozen yogurts I was going to make for my dad. Justin loves to cook, and was giving me ideas on different foods to test that are high in protein to help my father build back some of his weight. The idea of him trying to cope with the potential upcoming chemotherapy without even a bit of strength doesn't seem possible. I explained to Justin how important it was for me to do something, ANYthing, for my dad; "And I really just want him to be able to enjoy eating again. Everything tastes bad for him and he just can't palate it. He has to put on weight.... I just want to do something for him, and this is all I can do..."
I am constantly amazed at how quickly I can go from "ok" to choked up and unable to breathe. Knowing that this tiny little thing I am able to "do" isn't going to make any real difference in my dad's terminal outcome feels like I am looking back at my children in my van dream again. All I can do is look at him and say "I love you. I LOVE YOU. I love you..." But it's not enough.