I didn’t see you. Mom asked me if I wanted to. I said no. I was scared. I was scared of you. I was scared of me. What would happen to me seeing your lifeless body when seeing your body become lifeless had threatened to ruin everything inside of me? Your voice had kept me together. It was only right that its absence left me in pieces. Our phone calls preserved me. One phone call shattered me.
How could I look at you now? What would I see? All the times I avoided looking at you, so I could pretend the obvious wasn’t real? All the times I avoided helping you, so I could convince myself you really could put your own shoes on and scratch your own head? All the times I consoled mom, promising her it would be okay and you would get better? All the times I pleaded with God to heal you to make my life easier? All the times I wished you weren’t my dad?
I couldn’t bare it. I couldn’t fathom falling to greater depths than I already had. Surely, I wouldn’t make it out if I did. I would be swallowed up by death. Irretrievable. Unsalvageable.
We have conceived, and been as it were in labour, and have brought forth wind: we have not wrought salvation on the earth… [Isaiah 26:18]
All my labour not to let myself fade into nothingness conceived only more sorrows. My efforts to save myself have brought forth wind.
I tried to imagine what it would be like for a woman to prepare and make ready and endure the nine months leading to the birth of her child. I tried to imagine the beauty and hope and life she was patiently waiting for. The promise of the pain. There I am, at the culmination of the tenderness and toil teeming over in tears, and nothing. Nothing to hold. Nothing to touch.
So it was with my attempts to save you dad. To save you to save me. My will was finally met. Reduced to the wind.
What was I scared of?
Seeing you dead would have meant death for me. It would have meant my labour birthed only wind.
“And there I was! Caught in the Snide!
And in that dreadful place
Those spooky, empty pants and I
Were standing face to face!
I yelled for help. I screamed. I shrieked.
I howled. I yowled. I cried,
‘OH, SAVE ME FROM THESE PALE
GREEN PANTS WITH NOBODY INSIDE!’
But then a strange thing happened.
Why, those pants began to cry!
Those pants began to tremble.
They were just as scared as I!”[“What was I Scared of?” Dr. Seuss]
A strange thing has happened now. If mom were to ask me again. If I could see your lifeless body. I would. Losing me in losing you meant facing death. Poor empty pants with nobody inside.
He will swallow up death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face and remove the disgrace of His people from the whole earth. For the Lord has spoken. And in that day it will be said, “Surely this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us.” [Isaiah 25:8-9]
What was I scared of?
I love you dad,