This beautiful post comes from Kris Felbeck, who writes about the profound experience of loss and grief in the family.
In Fall 2000 my father was dying.
Of course, at the time we were not sure what was happening – he was sick, in and out of hospitals, better some days, worse others. There was no clear diagnosis, no clear road map that the doctors could give us to follow. We were my mother and my two sisters and me. It was a time of many emails, many phone calls, much traveling from our three Midwestern homes to our parents’ home in Wyoming. The intense communication magnified our feelings and our reactions to either the good news or the bad news that emerged almost daily.
It was also a time when I felt that I lived in a totally different realm from ordinary people. The best image I can summon is that of a fish swimming under the clear ice of a lake. I, as the fish, was swimming up close to the underside of the ice – there was great light there, but also the barrier of the ice. Below me, in the dark murky depths of the lake bottom, were all the creatures of the ordinary world, pursuing their ordinary affairs – I had recently been one of them, and knew that soon I would return to my ordinariness, but during the three months of my father’s dying, I led a different life. To this day I carry my memory of that time, as a sign of hope that there is more to my world than my mundane life, and as a challenge to change my life so that I can once again rise to the top of the lake and bask in the great light.