NICK HENNEN: Now I See — Mom And Me

It’s much easier to stuff lately. And it’s not like I don’t have the energy to feel, it’s more like I’m making the conscious choice to avoid feeling much of anything that relates to the distance between us. Like wearing a life jacket in a rainstorm, it makes my inner child think I’m protected.

Something new has started where I can phone the head desk and they bring a phone to her as she awaits dinner. My sister thought of it and the staff doesn’t seem to mind.

They are able to help her put the phone to her ear, well, mostly, sometimes it starts to fade away. Those are the times I don’t get a good-bye or anything. Still, I listen to the ambient noise, and sometimes I hear her talking to others before the connection is lost.

Once I called and the woman that yabbers like she is singing was so loud, we barely got a word in. She’s more soft-spoken than ever, so that was pretty tough. Still, I hung up feeling pleased I’d reached her.

It’s strange knowing that you’ve lost someone when they are still here. It’s a funny feeling inside your bones. Like pins and needles jabbing you into a state of urgency. It’s like watching someone you love kayak down Niagara Falls over and over. You’d think that the terrified rushing  feeling would wear off from over exposure, but there is no ease in intensity as time passes.

About two calls ago, I had a really good talk. She said, “I miss my babies,” and at one point, “I love you” to me, which makes me feel more alive, if that makes sense. It’s more than I can explain in words, it’s a sense of belonging to something bigger than everything here. It’s a belief in knowing peace.

This afternoon, I caught her again and the call went pretty good. I did most of the talking and praying and singing, but I think it mostly transmitted.

I drove home in the rain and thought about how much energy it can take to avoid feeling something that makes you sad. I decided it was less than the exhaustion despair brings. For now, I’m focused on the bits of sunlight that glimmer across the tree’s leaves as they twist and turn in the wind. There is a lot of beauty in those moments.

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