Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

It seems selfish to talk about such a mundane breaking apart in a world where real wreckage lies scattered everywhere. Instead, I try to carry the sadness around quietly, so as not to take up too much air with it, to leave space for the far more significant sadnesses of others. How do we appropriately mourn the passage of time when it’s passing beautifully, safely, but not for everyone? And how do we honor milestones that happen while we aren’t looking? The first toddling steps, taken at home with the sitter while we’re at work, or the first baby tooth, lost at preschool. The last time we saw someone, not knowing it was the last. All I know to do is acknowledge the fortune of having milestones to celebrate at all. I can celebrate people whose accomplishments mark time in my own life. I can accept that firsts and lasts are both glorious and breathtakingly sad, especially when they sneak up on us. I can watch and listen for losses I can do something about, and then I can stand by someone’s side, make a phone call, give my time, cast a vote—anything I can do, as often as possible—to try to make sure fewer parents suffer the unthinkable, that more people will bear only the most ordinary losses. And I can try to contain my emotions when they hit me like a wave in public, the way they did that late-summer afternoon while shopping for peaches. If you happen to catch me moping while gazing upon my firstborn’s favorite food, know that I’m pulling myself together. Really, I am. I’ve just slipped for a second into my own tiny, self-indulgent grief. And if you, too, are thinking, I thought I had more time, for any reason—a loss large or small or so eclipsed by refracted rays of joy that you’re ashamed to call it a loss at all—come stand quietly by the fruit with me. We don’t even have to talk, unless… well, would you mind telling me to turn my oven off? It’s so easy to miss the moment when things begin to burn.

— Mary Laura PhilpottBomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives (Atria Books, April 12, 2022)


Notes:

Comments

  1. Oh Dave…tears falling all over themselves as they race to the bottom of my face…such beauty, such pain

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “It’s so easy to miss the moment when things begin to burn.” Took my breath away…..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That last line really shook me. Such sadness and regret.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow.. she must’ve cried as she was writing. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “ I thought I had more time” sound like someone’s last words. In my younger days, it’s also what I used to tell my Mom when she called me home as I was playing with friends, usually adding “We were just starting to have fun!”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for the quote. We suppose we allways think we would have more time left.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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