For several days, actually some weeks, now, I kept getting this niggling sense that my phone wants to ring but it doesn’t. It keeps me up periodically, it disturbs my sleep – which is not too great to begin with. I think the dark silence is going to be darkened more at any time with the bell tone of my phone. I almost wait, but sleep eventually settles in. And thank goodness, it does not ring.
I say thank goodness because in my thinking any ring tone late at night, early in the morning, creates an apprehension in my sense of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and an almost refusal feeling of dread.
It’s funny – not the ha ha kind – how I can remember and picture the all-of a suddened body tension, the unwelcomed anticipation – in given circumstances – in my parents’ eyes, faces and unawared reflexes as they matured: I like to say that rather than use the common vernacular of aged. Matured sounds more gracious. I’m not sure that I truly understood all, most of, or any of it way back when, except for the fact that the way back when is what stands before me today, now. My life has come into the years that used to belong to my Mom and Dad, aunts, and uncles. I was a teenager, a young adult, and rightly or wrongly unaffected and unabashedly safe from what they went through.
That explicit most dreaded phone call happened once many years ago – it was a phone call at 3 in the morning that somewhere somehow deep in me I knew was coming – as it did, when it did. I was in my apartment in New York and the next thing I knew I was on the train to home. It was a frightening night, a not-knowing for a time what was going to happen. The only thing I knew, my mother, sister and brother knew, was that Dad had had a heart attack, a severe one. Thank G-d, with time he recovered and our father being our father, eventually returned to being the incredible, so wonderfully admired, and respected, and ever caring doctor he was.
Last night, those feelings of expectancy, anticipation, that had been stabbing at me became a reality once again. It was around 11:00 p.m. My deepest, greatest, love has always been and will always be for and with my Mom and Dad, sister, and brother. Their health and well-being are of the utmost importance to me though that is not to the exclusion of my nephew and my cousins (and I have quite a few). My put-aside trepidation of anything happening to either one of them is like a shadow lurking somewhere deep, somewhere hidden dormant within me.
My sister called me. Her voice was so sad and heavy I could feel the beginnings of an almost frenzied pulsating in my chest, mild but … My immediate thought my immediate question was are you okay, is John okay. They were, they are: I quietly thanked G-d. But what she wanted to tell me was, is, heartbreaking. One of our cousins is undergoing radiation for cancer; and another is undergoing treatment in hospital for cancer. Details are not what matter here: just learning about it creates a chasm into which so many feelings converge. It is heart wrenching. And perhaps the most guilt-ridden thought that snakes itself into my feelings is … well, I can’t say it, let alone write it. That that thought would come to mind truly makes me feel quite sickly.
There are no promises about how our lives will evolve or devolve. Maybe we know before we pass from soul into body and if we do then maybe that knowing subconsciously psychically helps us to strengthen our resolve and fight to nourish and shield our lives.
Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”