When she described her idea to me, I knew exactly what she meant. I had experienced a couple of hurricanes already. They are those moments that feel as if someone reached into your life and flipped a switch, like a train switching tracks. The reality you were living changes almost instantly, and often permanently.
My hurricane didn’t come, however, until I saw her face.
“You look like shit,” I said. She didn’t snap back at me like she was supposed to, though. She looked away. My sister, who prides herself on being tough in the hardest of situations, couldn’t look me in the eyes.
And that’s when the hurricane struck. I knew right then that I was about to lose my mom.
I spent that day thinking I couldn’t imagine a worse pain. This had to be the most anguish a human being could experience. I felt like I was dying too.
An infectious disease doctor recommended that all of my and my sister’s family take antibiotics to prevent the freight train infection that killed my mother from claiming another one of us. The pain of losing her was somehow tempered by the fear that things can always get worse.
I don’t know what my mother’s take on The 60 Second Hurricane would have been. I don’t know what conclusions she would have come to while writing a book she thought she still had plenty of time to write. But, for me, those hurricanes have brought the kind of clarity that is only possible when you have been knocked down. As you struggle to right yourself, you feel the push of all the people who love you, nudging you back into the light even if you’d rather spend more time in the darkness. And you realize that the endless words of comfort from everyone around you swirl together to send one cohesive message: You are loved. We are here for you. Please keep going.
The best way I know to honor that message is to believe it. I am loved. I am supported. And here I am, still really sad, but, still going. I have made it through every major holiday. I have made it through my birthday. I have made it through her birthday. And now, I'll do it again. I'll take another trip around the sun without her, even if, sometimes, I don't want to. I am loved. I am supported. I will keep going.
Thanks, again, for all the pushes.