The Spaces

Sometimes the beauty is in the spaces, isn’t it?

The pause between when you tell him you love him for the very first time, and you wait, one beat, another, and there is that delicious-scary anticipation, before you hear what he will say back.

The gap between the notes in your favourite song. You know precisely how long to hold the silence. You take your breath, before the lyric unfurls the next layer of story.

The very first moment when you become aware of yourself in the morning, when for a second or two you are no-one and nowhere, your brain is furry and unfocussed, and there is no cancer or death or pain that cannot be taken away.

The beauty of the space.

This week two more of my people died.

I know this is inevitable. That with every moment that passes, every beautiful space that passes me by, I draw closer to another death. A bigger space. Another one that can never be filled.

Those deaths take my breath away, every single time.

This week two more of my people died, and there is a space in my heart that can’t be filled, and nor would I want it to be.

What do you say when someone dies? Do you say: passed away, passed over, left this earth, deceased? I don’t like any of those. I say they have left a space.

And so I mark it.

In my appointment book, which is the thing that runs my days, I write their name, where the time for their check up would normally be. My Dad comes in most Saturday afternoons. Hayley comes in every second Tuesday night. Geoff comes in once a month on a Saturday morning, and Bob has 9.15am on a Tuesday, every fourth week. Don’t worry about my tenuous grip on reality, I know they aren’t actually coming in, but I can’t bear to erase them, to take away the space they held in my life.

In the beginning, the space is almost unbearable. The allotted time stretches out from my toes to eternity, and I think I will never endure the tock-tock-tocking of the moments passing. After the passing of months, that if joined together would wrap around the equator eleventy-million times, the space takes on a new form. The time morphs and passes faster, or perhaps it just has less barbs to be ripped out of the gentle skin of my forearms. The space holds itself, it never de-ceases, but I find that I have a fortitude, a fort, that I never knew I’d built, and I can sit in the space, and put the jigsaw pieces of my heart back together.

Some of the pieces are missing.

There are spaces where there once was a picture.

But there is beauty in the parts that are now missing. They are the memories of my very own. Invisible to another, but clear to me.

And they are wondrous.



…From The Ashers