In the twinkling of an eye

How life can change in an instant! Just as Jesus said it will be at the end; “we will be changed in an instant…in the twinkling of an eye.” That’s how it was for you, wasn’t it my darling?

There is an icicle outside of the window. Last night it was beautiful; like a crystalline scepter suspended against black velvet, held aloft by a million twinkling stars. But this morning, it is small and sad, dripping tears into dirty snow amidst a backdrop of endless, dreary grey. That’s me. I remember how we were mesmerized watching the riot of colors on the fall trees, stunned into awed silence by God’s seasonal artistry and profound expression of it up here on the mountain; our mountain. But it isn’t our mountain after all. Those beautiful leaves darkened into dried and curled, macabre expressions of what they had once been, tremulously hanging by a dead stem to an already sleeping host, quivering in an icy, merciless wind. That’s me. I shake and quiver inside like a birch sapling in the frigid breath of winter, bare of the protective clothing your love and presence provided. Each day, no, each moment, seems to carry another icy blast of cold breath through the broken chinks in my earthly abode, sending me into frightful spasms of salty tears borne of grief and sadness, anger and fear.

Can they see it? Do they see the way I clench my jaw so that my teeth ache, and rub my fingertips together to eradicate the numbness as it makes its way up to the very core of my soul? No, no one can or should see such terrible, bleak images. I am hoping beyond hope that I will awaken from this monstrous night terror to find you breathing quietly and evenly, the cat curled in the crux of your right arm just so, by my side.

Can it really be that you are truly gone? Where did you go so suddenly? Why did you leave me here alone with the horrific list of life to do without you? You were so calm, so capable, while I am a quivering mass of some jelly-like substance that somehow finds itself at work, or the store, or home, doing something that imitates living but isn’t. Yet, this thing, this organism that breathes and speaks and cries, is not really living but existing; waiting for the half of it that has suddenly gone missing, like Siamese twins torn asunder traumatically, not having salvaged the essential organs of the one to survive.

I actually think it is getting worse. One wise elderly lady who had lost her husband of 61 years said to me, “No dear, it will never be the same, but the first six months are the worst.” It’s been seven weeks and my courageous facade is crumbling. Beneath it, I find only the dried, colorless leaves of our last blissful autumn, trembling and blown, sticking against the wall of a deserted, dilapidated house. I can’t think clearly. My mind is a strange place full of swirling, frightful fog, and specters of nebulous beings that exist between fitful sleep and tearful days. My body is robotic, trying to recall the programming that made it get up, and eat, and go to work, and come home, and care for the girls, and an endless list of tasks that no longer hold any meaning or purpose. It, too, is malfunctioning. Like Paul, but coming from a different place, “what shall save me from this body of death?”

And, as always, the answer is the same: “I shall never leave you nor forsake you. I shall never leave you nor forsake you. I shall never leave you nor forsake you.” I feel nothing if not forsaken, but I know, somewhere deep in my soul, I am not.

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