I stood upon my tiptoes, stretching to reach the mirror. It's toothpaste splattered surface was quickly wiped clean - my practised hands completed the task in less than a minute. As I lowered my arm I happened to catch my reflection in the glass. My hazel eyes studied the red hair and brown roots, and slid from forehead to chin. My eyes are the same, despite the the faint hint of crowsfeet, and the lips are still full - one of my best features; and yet i'm different, changed somehow. I see a person who is more cautious and guarded, a woman whose ventured the outskirts of Hell face on and lived to tell the tale. I suddenly let it sink in, all of it, the lessons I've learned. The realization that life is finite, not just for me, but for those I love, was one lesson I won't soon forget. This year has taken a toll on me and has forced me to grow into a person that I no longer recognize.
I used to think aging happened according to the years we accumlated, the number of candles we snuffed out on our birthday cake; I realize now that it's the experiences of life which ages us. Just one year ago I held a life within me, a hope for their future, a fantasy of their adulthood. I would love him, raise him right, and then watch in wonder as he became independent and absolutely remarkable. It never crossed my mind that his life is already his own, and so thus, is the timing of his death.
Babies die. Children die. Adults die. Some people find comfort in this - a comraderie that no one is immune. But I was appalled by this thought; and so I realed backwards from it's infectious reality, as though it's poisonous whisper could only find me if I stood in the open, mocking it's authority, and daring it to come for us. But no matter how deep I hid within my own despair and stubborn hope, I couldn't help but hear his mortality echo against every wall of my being.
I cried more tears this year, than any other time in my life. I stood frozen this year, in indecision and fear, more than any other time in my life. I felt a hurt that cannot be described, a gnawing ache within my soul during the moments where I wondered if he would leave me. This year battered and brutalized every fiber of my being, and left me so horribly vulnerable. But this new found vulnerability would force me to appreciate everything I had.
It will take me a while to reconcile the woman in the mirror with the girl I always knew. I like to think I'm ancient now because I refuse to live my life in years; instead I live in the moment, because there is more of those in a lifetime than candles on your cake.