Gifts are odd things. They can be funny or cruel. Poetic or prophetic. They can mean all to one and nothing to the other, and vice versa. Sometimes they may be life or death. Given out of love, or like, or indifference or spite or clear-as-air hatred, a gift given means something to both the giver and the receiver. For whatever it’s worth.
Life is a gift. Sometimes. And death can be a gift. Sometimes. It’s all in how you interpret it, plus what you’re handed throughout your waking days on Earth. Interpretation can be crucial, and key, no matter what else swamps and drowns the rest.
I was given life…for whatever reason. From what I was told, it was an easy birth. First labor pang hit at around 8:00 PM and *fwooomph*, I was out by 2:01 am the next morning. Six hours and one minute after the first “WHOA! Ok….” flashed through my mother and broke her water.
In my mind, my mother held me in her arms and I was both her greatest dream and worst nightmare all at the same time.
But she gave me life, and she probably smiled as I howled indignantly, angrily, sullen at being suddenly exposed to bright light and cold air, and then quieted down once I was swaddled tight and placed into her arms, heat coming back into my body after the indecency of being shoved out of the one place I’d known, all warm and swimmy and calm.
And she gently touches your still rage-red face and says “It’s ok. It’ll be ok. I promise…”
You know when Death comes for someone. You…just do. There can be a cacophony of things…labored breathing…water running, horns blaring outside on the street, sirens and buses and trains, oh my, the beating of your own heart loud in your ears, the words you just said “It’s ok, I promise, It’ll be ok” whispered into the washcloth you soap it up…but then…
Then there is a silence that you must believe was the same silence in the stillborn Universe right before everything went BANG…It’s a…quiet…that settles deep into your marrow that you will never, ever, ever be able to shake, like standing in the heart of a hurricane, watching the world whirl, whorl, wind and twist, while all around you is still.
You know. And the knowing doesn’t make the whole thing any less terrible, any less horrific or terrifying…it…just is…and you will have to deal with the repercussions…
And your last, true Gift to her is touching her pale white face, so different from what you knew…cupping her chin to close her mouth, then…then…reaching up to gently close her eyes…
The cycle, in some way, is complete. But the memory will always haunt.