Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 32

Scarred By Milissa O’Connell Link There’s only one visible scar from the whole ordeal. A at me. All my defenses were stripped bare by some dark gouge above my left eye. But you should have seen the dread in the dead of night. There was no story, just a other guy. He took his wounds to the grave.  headline hovering in a murky amber glow: DEATH IS __________________________________________________________________ TERRIFYING. Brien and I, for decades, had slept coiled together, after saying, “I love you,” and turning off the light. Feeling the rise and fall of his warm chest against my cheek was what got me through the night. I remember our toes entwining like tendrils.  I once heard a meditation teacher say that the transition from this life to the next is like passing through a portal. So, during my early morning shuffle to the bathroom— breath catching in my pounding chest as death lurked—I made myself breathe and mindfully step through the bathroom door. A kind of death rehearsal. Though every- After the cancer invaded his bones there was less touch. thing in me protested, I went ahead and took that one One day, as we walked across the parking lot of the food boundless step into the unknown and exhaled as I made coop, I wrapped my arm around my husband’s waist, as I my way through to the other side. Each time I practiced had so many times over the years. crossing the threshold of that mind-made abyss, I felt a Brien flinched, “Don’t!” One of many firsts among the little bit less afraid. lasts.  But practice doesn’t always make perfect. A few years before Brien’s diagnosis, I would wake up __________________________________________________________________ around 3:00 am. Squinting as I made my way through the darkness toward the bathroom, I felt something claw 32 Probably the best preparation for letting go into the