Where’s a Flying Wallenda when you need one?

20140307-112837.jpg Years ago my daughter and I were in Charleston for a long weekend as a getaway after she graduated high school. Without realizing it, we had gone during the Spoleto festival. Every spring Spoleto transforms Charleston into an amazing performing arts arena with every square inch covered with artists of every genre. It’s an amazing sight.
We left the hotel early that morning and had been walking for hours when we both started to tire in the afternoon heat of a Charleston June day. I spotted a large tent set up in a vacant lot off one of the side streets and we decided to duck inside.
It was cool and dim and smelled like damp hay. The show had already started so we slipped quietly into the bleacher seats and waited for our eyes to adjust from the bright June afternoon.
When my vision adjusted I realized the audience was looking up. Following their gaze I found myself staring straight at a man on a high wire….a VERY high wire. No net, no safety harness. Just a tiny wire that he so gracefully maneuvered. I held my breath until the show ended and he was safely on the platform. As the applause died the ring master invited everyone back to the evening performance and while listening to him talk I realized I had just witnessed the end of a stunning performance by one of the flying Wallendas! I felt pretty privileged to have picked that tent to sneak into to get out of the heat that day.
Well Daddy’s been gone six month’s now and that’s exactly how I feel….. like I’m on a high wire….all the time. Always holding my breath. Always waiting to fall. Always wondering if I am balancing everything good enough to take the next step.
But I don’t have the luxury of being inside a tent just 30 feet up, the air still and calm around me. It feels like my wire is stretched across the Grand Canyon with no platform or net in site.
On a good day……a low stress, “normal” day…. my wire is steady and the air is calm. When I have a few of these days in a row, I’m lulled into a false sense of security that things are returning to normal and the grief monster has made his retreat. But as soon as any stress comes along the wire starts to quiver and the wind starts to blow around me.
I try to concentrate on whatever is at hand but my mind goes blank and all I can think about is that next step and the wind howling around me then just like that I’m back at the hospital facing the reality that I won’t be taking Daddy home this time.
So now all the worlds a stage and I have become a tight rope walker, constantly balancing, waiting to fall. Some days are better than others of course. On a good day, there isn’t even a breeze and I have one of those really long poles to help balance every step. On a bad day, there are gale force winds whipping around me as my wire sways from side to side. There’s definitely no balance pole.
So now as my grief mechanism of choice, my life has become an analogy for a high wire act. I lay in bed at night…all night lately since my insomnia has returned…wondering what I can do the next day to keep my winds perfectly still and calm. I need to not screw anything up. I need to not make anyone mad or hurt anyone’s feelings. I need to do whatever I can for the people around me to make whatever I can better in their world. I need to be “on” constantly, doing everything in my power to keep the wind calm. You see, if any of these things aren’t so, the wind around me starts to blow and each step on the wire becomes more and more perilous. I’m not sure what happens if I fall off. I don’t think I want to know. I could use a few lessons from a Flying Wallenda right about now. Maybe just cover the basics so life isn’t so damn hard without Daddy.

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2 thoughts on “Where’s a Flying Wallenda when you need one?

  1. I totally forgot about that day in Charleston!!! That was an amazing trip!!! Remember I said my trip wouldn’t be complete unless I had seen a dolphin? Our last trip to the beach we were packing up and I had finally seen a family of them. Best trip ever!!!

    I love you soooo much!!!

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