“Fear is the heart of love…”

I had an odd start this morning.  Perhaps I can go as far back as to attribute it to last night.  There was just something about it.  I’m fine.  I feel fine.  I appear fine.  Yet, without any real reason, I became as clingy as a tired, lost child insisting, “Don’t leave me,” to a very confused Stark.

I can’t blame him really.  Even he has said it himself.  I appear fine.  I seem to be handling everything as well as I ever handle anything.  I don’t even know myself why things eb and flow.  I feel my being tired has as much to do with a double Daylight Savings change as it could possibly have to do with “handling” things.   I haven’t fallen into the usual trap of finding my relationship with someone suddenly without fault because they have passed away.  I have lost far too many people in my life to glorify the loss in any way.  Instead, I try to honor it with the flood of varying emotions that come alongside these events.

Time, it seems, is constantly taunting us with the need to do more only to remind us at the least expected moments that we have absolutely no control of it.  Whether we have arrived at the due date for a project completion or stand in sullen respect of someone that has graduated from life on Earth, time seems to hold consistency only in being described as “too short.”

I have never been a person of regret.  Personally, religiously, philosophically, I feel that is one sure way of shortening our time.  I’ve stood against many arguments about how I feel no need to be repentant over what I did or didn’t do in my life.  IMO, it is all part of the plan.  Isn’t life about learning? About becoming better human beings not just for ourselves, but as a positive influence to the lives around us?  Then, why regret?  I’ve made no mistakes.  If I had, then I might also believe that who I have become as a result of what society might dub as the “wrong turns” in my life, is something that I should also regret; as if to say that I could have arrived here by an easier path and been just the same, or better.  I think not.

So much of what we experience is caught within the untamable sense of time.  What may seem like your time to shine, could just as easily be cut off by someone else’s time for need.  While we all have our own autonomy, it would be selfish to assume that we have complete control over the decisions that directly affect us.  The best we can do is to decide how we want to deal with it, and how we choose to feel about it.

It is not lost on me that some part of me is choosing this just as it is not lost on me that these rules do not apply only to me.  I believe and sometimes have to remind myself, that none of us can be faulted as having made wrong turns or mistakes in life so long as we are consciously improving through our own, individual journeys.  With that, it is my choice in deciding how I should or need to handle the crossroads of my timing and the timing of someone else.  That’s where I stand this morning albeit confused as to what it is I need other than the irony that is the need for more time.

You can argue that suspecting something awful will create it.  While that is true, I also believe that we have a deep sense of what might happen next – that sixth sense that causes us to reach out to someone because we can’t stop thinking about them, only to find that they needed someone to reach out in that exact moment, or that lurking sense that something bad is about to happen that keeps that fight or flight aspect of your life prepped and ready for the moment you will truly need it.

For weeks, I’ve thought about reaching out to one of my sisters and kept telling myself that I really shouldn’t be a bother only to find an email from her in one of my alternate mail inboxes.  This morning, already feeling a little funky, my dad had told me to check my email to download a video he put together for my step-mother’s funeral.  I had already prepped myself for what it might feel like to watch 20 minutes of memories – most of which I wasn’t even there for and had never even thought to ask her about her life before she knew us – instead, I found an email response from my sister letting me know that when of the puppies had passed away suddenly.  7 years old.

Reading that, I couldn’t even say the words out loud to Stark.  All I could say was some completely empty expletive as I reached out to tell my brother.  Bad timing, I know, but I thought it may be better to mix grieving into one, large pile marked “This Sucks!”  Now if only that pile came with instructions.

As not obvious as it is to anyone else, it is just as confusing for me to be feeling more… something… as we get closer to my step-mom’s funeral.  Funerals are so final.  I have no regret in choosing not to attend.  I don’t feel I personally need to, and I don’t think it is the best timing for me to be there.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have my own process of fears to work through.  I fear how it is different just as much as I fear what parts might be the same as life was for my dad after my mom passed away 15 years ago.  These are those moments where nothing is ever easy because if it feels like it might be even slightly manageable, there’s a great wave of “What if” always on the rise behind you, keeping you just low enough to know how to deal and keep from falling from heights so high.

I’ve tried to be a big kid about it.  I’ve tried being incredibly in tune with what it is that is going on rather than let it all move like large under currants in my life, pulling my world inside out with the refusal in recognizing any impact.

All I know to do is to lure everything in just slight enough to keep the tides low and my thoughts, predictable.  There’s no greater sense of luring than to listen to music – something I identify with so strongly, so sub-consciously, that I often don’t even have the capability of listening to anything familiar however happy or sad it may make me feel.  Every tune comes with a memory; my mind, a jukebox of repression.  There’s no greater way of unearthing the realities that are set deep within, removed from the world around me.

I never plan a song.  I never think, “This is what it should be…”  Instead, I just listen.  My mind is almost always humming something connected deeply to whatever it is I am calculating deep within.  Without a doubt, realizing what’s playing in the background of my mundane, is always surprising.

Right now, I have a song on repeat that I have almost refused to listen to for even a brief moment in the last 7 years.

Love of mine,

someday you will die,

but I’ll be close behind

I’ll follow you into the dark.

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white,

just our hands clasped so tight

waiting for the hint of a spark.

If heaven and hell decide

that they both are satisfied,

illuminate the “No’s” in their vacancy signs;

If there’s no one beside you

when your soul embarks

Then I will follow you into the dark….

All that’s left to do is to realize just why that song, of all songs, is echoing through my memories now.  Right now.

That’s where hindsight becomes more than just 20/20, but a wonderful maze where choice meets fate over and over again.  Through that glorious, backwards map, I am reminded how I can never regret a single moment as they are all times of life marked as “Arrivals” – never late, always connected.

Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” was a favorite of my once betrothed significant other, Andrew.  This song in particular marks two eras – one in which we came together and mourned the loss of my cousin, Michael, as nearly the last time our family came together at that level of support in the loss of someone so suddenly.  It also represents that one, great memory I have where I finally accepted the loss of my own mother and the choice that if I were to move on through those pillared moments in life, that my step-mom would be the one that would be there.  So far in my life, I hadn’t even skirted a single choice that would lead me to celebrating one of those grand moments in life without finding myself in the arms of a mother.  I had been dragging my feet at college, not yet graduated.  I had consciously made the decision to not start a family.  I hadn’t even graduated from high school (via the ceremony) or had my parents send me off to college in any kind of official way.

My entire life started to shift in the year this song came into play.  While in some reflective moments, I feel a deep sense of guilt and sorrow for Andrew having been caught in the midst of my transition and left behind without any sense of care or warning, I know that was not my intention, and I know that I can stand forever grateful to him for being a part of who I have become.  Without that one moment in which my step-mom and I shared an awful sandwich, sitting at the tables of the Tom Thumb grocery store in Mansfield, Texas, where she admitted to me that love was indeed strange; where she explained to me that the feelings of young, summer romance are never the feelings that equate to the person that will love you through it all, despite it all, and for a lifetime, I would have never thought about that one person that, at that point in my life, had so unconditionally arrived at my rescue over-and-over again, year-after-year.  Without being able to make that adult-sized commitment to him, I would have never taken my entire life and childhood memories away to establish my own home, and my own sense of no-return.  I would have never known the awful, scary feeling of making your own decision, despite what everyone expected of you.  I would have never set myself on the path which then led to my graduating with my first degree and persisting so credulously through establishing my career and work ethic all in that first year following.  I would have never known what I was capable of, even if that capability at the time felt like it was no greater than the ability to destroy hearts, including my own.

I held my tongue,

as she told me son,

fear is the heart of love

so I never went back

Indeed, I never turned back.  For that, I owe no one in particular other than myself, but I do hold a great sense of gratitude for moments that have propelled me into a constant sense of greater.

And it is knowing that… feeling that!… this morning that has me at a crossroad where unwilling seems more compelling than any intrinsic motivation I may have toward doing my best right now.  In the end, perhaps all I can learn from this moment is that time is the one thing that always seems to make us feel lost in the irony that time also is the one thing that can always tell you exactly where you are in life.  Here, at 11:57AM April 16.  “I’ll follow you into the dark…”

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