Can you cherish the awful times? Sit quietly and go to that sad place, that hard time, when the way out seemed almost to difficult to bear. Maybe it was the end of a romance, or a day that turned sour with a sudden accident, a mugging, a fight. Maybe it was slower and less dramatic than that, accompanied by the sound of oxygen and saline, the soft beep of a heart monitor, the reverential hush of the hospital ward.
You woke up and it was early, too early but what else was there to do? This was your time of waiting, when matters were in the doctor’s hands, nature’s hands, God’s will. The sound of slow dying in a quieted room set a vibration in your heart, a rush of intense love that left you helpless and adrift. So you rose early and ate empty tasting food and drank what may as well have been water, and waited until they woke, or the ward opened for visitors, or the scan was completed. No matter how far you travelled – in ambulances, to specialists and clinics across town, the province or the world- you were always waiting as they inched slowly towards that final rest.
You felt conflicted when you hoped for a quick end for them, trying to balance your prayers for an end to this slow suffering with you desire to extend every second to a millennium, so you could pour your infinite love into them through the stroking of hair, the touch of their hand, a soft cloth to wipe up blood, sputum and tears. You felt selfish in your health, ill in your grief and worry. You grew so tired! and yet you waited patiently, a sentinel for fealty, a stone on a cliff face, feeling the weight of the bird before it loosened its grasp and lifted, soft as a kiss into a wheeling dance in the atmosphere.
And when it was over and the last kisses had flowed, and the tears wore riverbeds onto a face that felt thin as rice paper, the memory slowly knit itself together, bones mending, yet bearing the imprint of loss. When suffering for them was over, what other choice but to cherish every moment? How could you not find some measure of yearning for those last moments, when you woke early, waiting to pour you love into a dying soul?
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.