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Waiting For The Wake Up Call

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of waiting for the light to turn green, for my hair to grow out, for the cows to come home. I’ve been waiting. How long does a red light last? I’m late, and the traffic light knows it. I’m tired of waiting!

It’s been a l-o-n-g journey. I thought it would end someday.

I really didn’t have any particular day in mind or even a season or a year. I just thought it would end at some point in my life. I’ve learned the rules of the game. I know when silence is required and when it is "safe" to allow my thoughts to be formed into spoken words. I’ve learned to dodge and dart, dancing as a boxer seeking to out-last his opponent.

I used to be filled with ice water or lava. . . depending on the thoughts that raced across my heart. I alternated between being frozen or being consumed by flames. Grief is a difficult journey.

Guilt became a constant companion, and I could hardly wait until the day would come that I could cast that burden aside. I was patient, however, allowing each "if only" and "I should have" to have its moment in my soul.

Anger swept over me many times as I stumbled along the rocks and stones. Frustration built up inside me as I raged against the wind with flenched fist. "IT’S NOT FAIR!!!" became my battle cry. And the light stayed red.

No one needed me. No one needed me to fix breakfast or to clean house or to earn money or even to come home. All the plants died — even the plastic ones didn’t need me. The cat left home in search of a fuller dish, and the cobwebs grew well into the corners. No one needed me.

I must have changed my phone number because no one called, and the mail dwindled down to a few bills. The post office didn’t need me. I became invisible except for the throbbing hurt in my heart.

And so I waited. I waited for the cows to come home, and they did. And it was a mess. I waited for the light to change, and it did. And everyone went at once, and it was noisy. My ship came in, but it hit the dock and sank at the end of the pier. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a train.

When there was nothing left, when I was all alone, I was still breathing. I tried to hold my breath, but it didn’t work. The next breath always came, and then the memories came, too. I found I could still remember a smile, a giggle, an US, and a ME. Even when everything else was gone, there was still memory and was still ME.

As long as there is still ME, there will always be YOU.

I finally figured out that I could make the music come back. I could remember the joy; I could remember the tune. I don’t have to wait for someone else to bring me hope. Instead of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, I know I can find the light within. I can re-kindle the memories of love given and received. I can choose how those memories affect me. I don’t have to drown or lose the light in the sadness of grief. The memories are mine, and they are my light.

Happiness is not the absence of pain, but the possibility of joy returning . . . of memory becoming light. I will cry forever, but I refuse to lose the joy we shared. I can laugh at the moment and remember the magic of US.

Make your own light. Don’t wait for the one at the end of the tunnel. Make your own hope. Remember the moments. Hold onto the joy. The MAGIC, the MEMORIES, and the LIGHT are yours.

Wade McGilvra


"Someone I Love Was Murdered"

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