Death is a choice. Really, it is. You may not get to choose some particulars: how it happens or where. But sometimes you do get to choose. When my time came, when the moment that would shift the balance in my life presented itself I made the only choice I could: don’t die.
Not live on or just one more day, but don’t die. Because sometimes that’s how you feel when life shifts its weight and stands on your neck, when the day-to-day becomes dire, desperate and dark. More than alone, you feel hollow. Like life’s sole purpose is to confound and conquer you in new ways, every day. Bombardment at its cruelest. Hope at its dullest.
So, yes. In the thick of it, of your collapsing will to go on, you bear witness to the beginnings of the end: death…of dreams, hope, future, joy and survival. You give and it takes just enough ’til its vats sing awash with plenty. Lightness and purpose writhe in its clutches and you? Well, you’re sinking, fast with no reprieve in sight.
You my friend, are experiencing a soul ache. It occurs when there’s an unexpected life-quake that registers higher on your soul’s Richter scale than you know how to cope with. For me, it was the sudden death and loss of six people I loved within months of each other. It was being sued by an absentee parent for custody of the children I raised. It was the near death experiences that resulted from unexpected allergies to every day things. It was being pulled on. It was giving in excess. It was pain and hurt. It was feeling unworthy. It was feeling like failure was my name. It was agony and apathy rolled into one.
But, it didn’t last. Death came, wrecked havoc but didn’t stay. Do you know why? Because no matter how much light it tried to take, how much pain it unleashed, how many folks it tricked into talking down instead of building up, it could not take away my will to fight!
One of the greatest lessons I learned came from Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope strategy against George Foremen. Ali didn’t beat Foreman because he was stronger or faster. He beat Foreman because he wore him down. He allowed Foreman to expend all of his energy. He took all of Foreman’s body shots used the ropes for support and when the time came, Ali knocked him on his butt! Match over.
Don’t ever stop fighting. It may seem like death and its besties are beating you mercilessly, hang in there. It may feel like you’re sinking in a sea of pain, uncertainty and failure, lean on those ropes. It may look like you’re done for, you’re not–keep moving, keep watching and when the time comes, fight! You’ve lived through too much, made it through too many things to call it quits now. Fight! The rainbow is on its way. Fight! The light is beaming at the end of your tunnel. Fight! A new day is within your reach. And you better believe joy is coming in the morning.
So, fight! You’re worth it. You matter. And you’re not alone.