The phone rang, and my life changed forever. It was a sudden call out of nowhere, but familiar to me for a different reason. Touring a million miles from home kept us away for a long, long time. Too early to ask for emotional support from anyone anyway. It was only the two of us, no one else. The shock reverberated within me as I sat in my black Ford Taurus and puzzled. Could it really be? Was this how it happens? It hadn’t felt right at all. Certainly not the way it was supposed to all go down.
Too many questions, too much more time left and so many emotions to process before this could be allowed. I was scared out of my thirty-something-year-old mind. Was it a bad dream, was it all going to be a good dream? In the end, what is the reason and why cannot we have a meeting to discuss this first? “I’m not ready”, I admonished myself quietly shaking the cobwebs between reality and surrealism. Trying to find anything which made sense. “Why all the hurry”. “What did this mean”? Questions without any answers, as I remained slightly paralyzed with fear while parked, panting rhythmically on the asphalt surface in Butztown PA.
Mile-markers raced by, forming one long streak of blurry white, dancing erratically in my peripheral vision. There was not much time to spare. Having never gone through this before, one never knows how fate will play things out fully. Typically, my experiences have been quite random with it. I stopped trying to predict or tempt it long ago. Been there done that and failed each and every time. On this day… it was certainly not going to happen either. My hand held zero cards, nor was it seeking any. “Breath Aric, breath. Repeat, and stop the mind racing imagery immediately. It isn’t healthy, necessary, or warranted. Relax, you overreactive soul of a young man. Relax”.
Nothing looked comforting, nor was anything visually reassuring in any way. You’ve heard the phrase “time stands still” while sitting there alongside her it- absolutely did. I could see nothing. Simply the cotton material forming an artificial wall half-way down from the ceiling to it’s resting spot two feet away. The pattern on the floor appeared to have once been made specifically for visual tracing, over and over and over again. Especially for any person who had suffered from a racing mind, such as I at the time.
Everything teetered between heaven and hell, between life and death, between timing and fate that hour. I’d never been so incredibly unsure of anything, ever. As I reflect back while writing this post, it was the best and all of the worst of times, simmering together on the stove in a huge Morrison pot of chaos. We had zero ideas how was much was being prepared in that pot, dear god we just had no clue. We barely sampled any of it until a few months later. It remained cooking for years on a very slow setting. Always ready to be served up at just the proper time.
Without making any sound, it was all over. Nothing left to chance, nothing left undone. A ton of questions but no visual satisfaction to gratify my needs or quell my fears for the worst. Information was guarded and clearly not forthcoming. We knew what we knew, or I should clarify slightly, we knew what they wanted us to know. Nothing more.
It wasn’t until several hours later when my face lost its composure becoming void of any hue. Salt became abundant as I met my future, my world, my first reason for being on this planet. With blue eyes partially open, he fluttered them as I spoke my first words to him. “Hi Peanut, my name is Dad”.
And, so it began. Nineteen years ago, on this very day. My world became glorious.
What an incredible gift unconditional love is.
What a gift indeed.