The last several days were a little rough on me. I kept replaying in my head the pain I struggled through during the last month of my mom’s life. I became very moody and sometimes felt angry. It was like the light had left me for a while. I did what I had to do to get through each day.
Mom was under hospice care at home towards the end of her life. In that last week she was unresponsive and I’d sit next to her bedside every day. Sometimes I’d talk to her about anything that came to mind. Mostly small talk about the weather or what I did while I was out in town. I just wanted to talk to her like any normal day. I was sure that she could still hear me. At least I wanted to believe that she could.
One day, I just sat there holding her hand while watching her chest rise and fall with each slow, deep breath. At the same time, I was making a silent bargain with God. If he’d take away her cancer and let her live, he could take me instead. It wasn’t fair. She deserved to live. Mom was finally happy again after a tough divorce a few years prior to her illness. She had a new life, a new home, and marriage. Besides, I reasoned that my brother needed her more than me. I was willing to make that sacrifice.
Reliving the pain was emotionally draining but all I could do was work through it until it finally passed. By the end of last week, I was ready to take it easy on myself. I usually turn to music when I’m going through a tough time or just to relax. So on Saturday, I decided to put on some music while I did a few chores around my apartment.
I like all kinds of music and I was in the mood to listen to country. An old song in particular just happened to pop into my head out of the blue. I haven’t heard this song in years but for some reason, my gut was telling me to play it. While I listened to “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, the lyrics moved me to tears. I first heard this song when it was released several years ago. But back then in my early twenties, I had yet to experience a major loss in my life.
“The Dance” is a simple song but to me, it’s a beautiful metaphor for life. When you experience all that life has to offer it includes both the good and the bad. Love and happiness don’t exist without sorrow. Yet we still dare to love knowing it could end, despite not knowing how or when that end will take place.
I don’t know if my mom has ever heard the song but I know she would have loved it. It’s exactly the type of song she would’ve sung on karaoke night at her favorite bar. Maybe it was just a coincidence that I had to hear this song after my short relapse. But I’ll take it as a reminder to try and do the best I can to fully live and enjoy the dance.