Today is the last day of my life.
It was inevitable, and I had accepted it. In fact, I had embraced it. I was almost looking forward it. I expected – well – I hoped, that it would provide the release that I wanted. The relief that I needed. But would it?
Would I really go to a better place? People always say that when someone dies; as if it should somehow absolve the feelings of sadness, desperation, and helplessness. “It’s ok. He’s in a better place now”.
But is it really ok? Is he really in a better place? I think his place is here with me, and that that would be better.
I do wonder if it will be ok.
I imagined myself soaring, with newfound freedom. The burden of everything that ties me to this world, and to this life, gone. I envision the chains breaking, the wounds healing, and the bruises fading. Along with it, the memories that I longed to forget.
But would they heal? And would I forget? I had more questions than answers these days. And the promise of a better place just seemed hollow.
It was a beautiful day though. A sunny day. Cool and crisp. All of the flowers were smiling, though not yet in full bloom.
I walked behind the rest of the group, who was walking silently today. Our goal was bird watching. They were all out tweeting (the birds, not the hikers) and picking up twigs, gently passing them to their mates.
I had bought a new pair of binoculars for this hike and new leather gloves.
I had only my Driver’s License in my pocket. I wore my sensible and reliable hiking boots; I would never want to break-in new boots on an uphill climb. My dad always told me to wear comfortable, sensible shoes. “Never mind those pointed toes” he’d say.
I loved Spring. I loved the promise of renewal, and the idea of a fresh start had always been appealing to me. I felt a tad melancholy knowing this would be my last Spring. No fresh start for me.
The silence of our bird gazing was broken by squawking blue jays as we commenced our hike up to the bluffs.
I had brought my little boys here last summer, to look at the tiny fossils of animals and plants from the Great Ice Age. They were fascinated! Full of questions that I tried my best to answer. It was a truly magical afternoon. I hadn’t wanted it to end. None of us did.
I unsuccessfully fought back tears knowing that I wouldn’t see my boys anymore. I hated knowing that my death would cause them heartache.
“We’re moving on!” someone calls, and I smile, assuring them that I’ll catch up. I want this moment, and this memory, to last just a little longer. This is one memory I’d like to cling too.
I took my new gloves off and placed them in a clearing under a tree with my binoculars and my sunglasses.
I removed a post-it note from my pocket that I had written this morning. It read simply, “For Shirley.”
I tucked it under my binoculars and hoped that it wouldn’t blow away.
I walked back to the edge of the bluffs, climbing over the barrier and looked back, in time to see the last green jacket disappear along the pathway. I looked at the pretty white stones, then out across the sky. I closed my eyes and stepped forward.