A reminder of fragility


“I’m indestructible,” he whispers in my ear. “Nothing bad can ever happen to me.”

My mind loves to hear these words, the thought of permanence feels like a gentle lullaby.

My heart, on the other hand, knows better. It knows that the ones we love are not indestructible, they are not immortal, and they are not ours. But my hearts says nothing, it simply allows my mind to hold this comforting thought so it can sleep better at night.

I was reminded recently of the fragility of life when a person I love was badly injured. Life stood still in that moment and all I could feel was this cold sensation of loss. It was a profound realisation that this person, who gently holds my heart, could leave at any moment. The heaviness of this pinched a nerve that hasn’t been felt since the last time I saw my sister in the hospital. It burst open the very chambers of my heart that had taken years to close, flooding my body in painful memories. My body’s response was a tangled mess of fear and sadness that manifested itself as a raging fury. I was enraged by my powerlessness and by the terrifying reminder of how vulnerable life really is.

For a glimpse, it brought me back to that same feeling I had in the months following Elizabeth’s death. The one where my mind felt like it was floating in space, heavy and slow, looking down past my feet at this tiny little Earth that continued to turn. All the people below looking like tiny fragile ants, each of them cocooned in their own worlds as headphones hugged their ears and cell phones glued to the palm of their hand, completely unaware of the fragility of their humanness.

It’s funny how easy it is to forget the biggest things in life. How easy it is to stay fixated on shallow distractions.

It confuses me how easily my mind returns to engaging in trivial worries and meticulous planning for the future. No matter what my heart has been through, my mind still cannot bear the thought of impermanence. It hates acknowledging the fragility of life. What would be the point, I guess. To spend your days wondering when you’ll take your last breath, or when that rushed morning kiss to your partner before work will be your last…

Maybe the point would be to cherish everything we have, while we still have it. It’s like these type of experiences arrive in our lives to shake us, wake us up, and remind us how lucky we really are. Maybe their purpose is to deepen our love and help us practice the art of letting go for the day when we have to do exactly that.

Thankfully, everything is okay now. Things have gone back to normal. It is only healing from this point, both physically and emotionally. It will take some time to return to baseline. The waters crashed like a powerful storm and now I wait for the winds to calm, the waves to settle, and the water to still.

The sun always comes again.


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