Between Life & Death

by: Ashley Roman

I'm sitting here on my balcony looking at the last little triangle of sunlight shining on a tree as it sets behind us. I'm tired. Baby is rumbling around inside; I can see his little kicks through my shirt. Husband is unwinding with a video game. Dog is resting. Grandma is dying.

It's hard to live life when there's so much good and so much bad.

Living between anticipated new life and anticipated death is a weird space. And both are completely new to me. That's scary. I have no idea what it's like to give birth or to be a mother; and I have no idea what it's like to lose someone I truly love with all my soul. Yet both are inevitably going to happen, and sooner than I feel ready for.

Tears burn my eyes. My throat feels like it's closing in as I try to not let emotion overcome me. The sadness and the fear are so strong in these moments.

I take a few minutes to check social media because I'm not sure what I'm trying to say or where my thoughts are headed. All I know is that I'm caught in a gray area- dark gray. That means it's time to pray.

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I keep wondering if I'm in this cycle. Is there a stage called confusion? That seems more accurate. All those other feelings come and go. Who invented this formula for grief? How can anyone decide who experiences what? Maybe some people can't get past the depression; that is frightening. Maybe some people slip right into acceptance because their faith is so strong they know who is in control. I want that. I want so much trust in the Lord nothing so "normal" as life and death could shake me.

Alas, I am reminded of my humanness. I see my humanness in the sadness of my sister, the stress of my grandfather, the tears of my uncle, and the embrace of my husband. We are in this together.

Last night my grandmother was asked, "What is one thing you want to leave with us?" Her response, "We are all one."

We are all one.

Grandma and I are one. My grandmother and my son are one. Even in her final days when all I want to do is help her, she is teaching us all. And it's not even her intention; it's her nature.

She is teaching me to live day by day, moment by moment. She is teaching me love can be stronger than fear. She is teaching me we are all the same. Maybe we're all in the gray area; at least we're together.