I am no longer waiting

In my writing journal, I came across a poem titled ‘I am no longer waiting’. It felt like a message in a bottle from past me. 

I am excellent at waiting. For the perfect moment. For conditions to improve. And now I am waiting for my mother to die.

I love her, I don’t want her to die. But she has been slowly unravelling for years as dementia stole her sanity and now her ability to walk or use her arms. 

Death is not the enemy but a merciful friend.

I don’t know if you have ever watched somebody you love slowly deteriorate. I am sorry if you have. It is agony. The waiting for the inevitable feels endless. And yet amongst the deep waves of grief I have been surprised to find a strong counter current pulling me towards life. I am surrounded by death and yet I have never felt more alive.

The modern world has many benefits, but because we have become removed from death and tragedy. It allows us to persist in the grand delusion that death won’t happen to us. Whereas one of life’s great truths: is none of us are getting out of here alive. Death happens to us all. 

What do we do what that knowledge, that dark and precious gift? My mother’s final gift to me.

Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.

‘The Uses of Sorrow’ by Mary Oliver

Today would have been my best friend Lianne’s birthday. She would have been 41. She was somebody who was vividly alive. Some of us go quickly, we don’t have a chance to say our goodbyes. For those of us who see death coming, it can be a chance to do things differently. Yet for Lianne as she became more ill, her ability to things she wanted to do was eaten away by the cancer.

I don’t want to wait until I am dying to regret the things I did not do. I do not know how much time I have but as the great New Jersey poet Jon Bon Jovi said ‘I just want to live while I’m alive.’

I love new years resolutions. The idea of turning over a new page, the seductive possibility of change appeals to me. I saw somebody posting on social media about new years resolutions to lose weight. It said what if instead of waiting to lose weight, you did all those things you think losing weight will give you now?

What if you wore the bikini anyway?

What if you went to the dance class anyway?

What if you went on that date anyway?

What if you stopped waiting and started living now?

So this year I am resolving to stop waiting and to start living. 

What that looks like for me.

Telling my children I love them. Kissing my husband. Dancing to anthems with my besties. Swimming in the sea. Staring up at the stars. Booking that art class. Wearing that unflattering rainbow t-shirt that I love. Writing as if my life depended on it.

It looks like being in this world and not standing on the sidelines waiting for the right moment to jump in. Because now is all there is.

It is paying attention to all the things I tell myself I cannot do.

Idea by Kate Baer.

So let me ask you: what are you longer waiting for? What are you doing now? To paraphrase Mary Oliver how are living ‘your one wild and precious life?’

Words. Words. Words.

Advent of Midlife

by Mary Anne Perrone

I am no longer waiting for
A special occasion;
I burn the best candles on ordinary days.

I am no longer waiting for
The house to be clean;
I fill it with people who understand that
Even dust is sacred.

I am no longer waiting for
Everyone to understand me;
It’s just not their task.

I am no longer waiting for
The perfect children;
My children have their own names
That burn as brightly as any star.

I am no longer waiting for
The other shoe to drop;
It already did, and I survived.

I am no longer waiting for
The time to be right;
The time is always now.

I am no longer waiting for
The mate who will complete me;
I am grateful to be so
Warmly, tenderly held.

I am no longer waiting for
A quiet moment;
My heart can be stilled whenever it is called.

I am no longer waiting for
The world to be at peace;
I unclench my grasp and
Breathe peace in and out.

I am no longer waiting to
Do something great;
Being awake to carry my
Grain of sand is enough.

I am no longer waiting to
Be recognized;
I know that I dance in a holy circle.

I am no longer waiting for
Forgiveness.
I believe, I believe.

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