One day several weeks ago I looked up at the sky and had this simple thought, “I can still see the sky.” This might not seem like a big deal, but it was a profound realization. It seemed that for the first time I actually, really realized how truly amazing it was to still be on this earth and have the ability to once again, as I have done millions and millions of times before, still see the same old familiar sky. In that moment I began to feel such deep love, as if the sky were a family member or close friend that I had taken for granted all these years. “Hello Sky, I love you!” I wanted to shout. I started to think about what it would be like if I knew it was my last day of being able to do this. Sadness set in as I thought about it and suddenly I had a moment of feeling such abundance and joy. I know this might all sound corny, and it did remind me of one of those ‘moments’ in my late teens and early twenties when I admittedly smoked some pot, but what was so magical about it was that it had to do with no one and nothing material. I felt great joy just being here, period. The preciousness of being able to breathe, see and hear were all that really mattered.
In the days that followed I thought a lot about my mom and wondered if she’d ever had that special moment too, because things can change if we are patient. Everything is always in motion, which is why just seeing the sky again and again and again I find so comforting. Like every realization though, the profoundness of the feeling fades a little as the days go on and we go about our daily lives. Sometimes though there are wake up calls to jolt us back.
Nearly two weeks ago the almost unthinkable happened. Our daughter and her fiancé were in a car crash that almost ended tragically. Amazingly, they walked away from the burning car with minor injuries. That said, it was still very traumatic. Being a mom I internalized some of the trauma, even though I thought I’d held it all together pretty well. A few days later I started to have nightmares and aches and pains in different parts of my body. One night I dreamed that I was paralyzed and couldn’t move or scream, like a prisoner locked in my own body. I felt like I’d been the accident victim. To soothe myself I constantly told myself that thankfully it was a near miss, that someone was looking out for them, that they were incredibly lucky, that they must have a fairy god-mother. I was trying to make sense of the randomness and the luck we experienced. In the days that followed, my daughter and I hugged each other and cried tears of joy. The tears were also in the knowing of what the outcome could have been.
I feel wiser now. It’s taken me years of experience to realize how precious this all is. I’m so profoundly grateful that my daughter still gets to see the sky every day as I still do, and I know she has been changed from her experience. As I go on my daily walk, whatever stresses and challenges are going on, looking up and seeing the sky once more in all its varying colors and forms keeps me happy.