Friday, August 30, 2013

Little Girl Lost

It is two days since I buried my brother. I feel like the lost little girl I wrote about in my book, DYING TO LIVE: Running backwards through cancer, Lupus and chronic illness. But I'm thinking long and hard about the title's pre-fix: DYING TO LIVE.

Because, I guess as we age, many parts of us die - whether they be our actual loved ones or our dreams or parts of our health, we are dying all the time. I turned 53 on Monday. It's a pretty insignificant age yet it will forevermore be burned into my brain due to my brother's death mere days earlier. And, for me, it brings back the question of why I lived through traumatic and near-fatal illness? Why was I chosen to stay in this Earth school when others I loved were not? Most importantly, however, we must accept that constant rejuvenation, growth and miracles accompany this dying journey. We just have to be willing to see and accept them quietly and with grace, or loudly and with gratitude - or both!

I don't talk about this much and not even in my book, but I had a Guardian Angel while I was critically ill. He visited me sometime during my wreck of an emergency tracheotomy, chemotherapy and never-ending hospitalization and his name was Sid. He was tall, blue-eyed with blond curly hair. He would sit by my side, visible only to me, and speak comforting words of encouragement and share my sorrow. Sometimes he would challenge me when I wanted to give up. His favorite three words when I would cry out: "Why me?" were "Why not you?" Months later when I started driving again, he was in the passenger's seat urging me on even through my eyesight was hazy, my confidence was zero and my muscles were weak.

One day he told me it was time for him to leave and I begged him to stay. But with a smile and wink (like Santa) he was off - back to God, I presume as his job with me was done. I looked for him for months - in real live humans. I was sure I would recognize him instantly and be able to walk up to him and thank him. But, of course, he was not of the physical world and I finally accepted I would not see him again until I rose to Heaven when it was my turn.

I hope my brother, Steve, has met Sid and they will become good friends; unless, of course, Sid is still working missions since I do believe God hands out certain job descriptions once you arrive in Heaven. I wonder what my brother's mission will be? I'm sure part of it will be to delight people with his wit and artistic expression. Perhaps he is already comforting someone else singing in his deep baritone voice, soothing with carefully selected words, or just making some ill child laugh.

According to one angelic website: "Usually, the guardian angels are spontaneously manifesting their support and divinely-protective influence when the human being truly needs them, because the mission they have from God, in respect with our being, is of acting like a sublime Providence..."

I believe, but you don't have to. I believe because of personal experience. Before that, I was a staunch non-believer. It takes a lot of time and argument with yourself and others to accept what is clearly not logical but I learned - slowly - that I actually prefer the illogical at times; especially times like these - times when nothing seems to make sense and I am that little girl lost yet again.

I will heal. The vast hole in my chest will fill in slowly and joy will return, most often when good memories of my brother surface. For now, I stay in sorrow and ache all over. It's just the first of many steps to come.

By Stephen Lyon Crohn 2013

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