Witness

Buying a Vowel

My brother called me late last night. And although he said initially that nothing was the matter, he then proceeded to tell me just how hard his life has become lately. He seemed surprised that he was admitting this all to me on Thanksgiving just minutes before midnight.

And he laughed the entire phone call.

He said with what he was up against, that crying was not an option. His words seared into my heart and by the end of the call I too found myself laughing. And when he eventually hung up, I too found it impossible to cry, I was so heart sick, I was past tears.

I wandered blindly around my kitchen compulsively reaching for food till it hit me. The reason my brother called me minutes before midnight on Thanksgiving … is because I am the only person who he can tell the truth about his life. And at the moment, his life is fucking impossible. And that brought me back to brink of tears again, only much, much deeper. I fell asleep finally on the verge of sobbing.

This morning as I lay in bed, I thought about all the people in my life where crying is not an option at the moment. There is too much coming at them and it looks like it is starting to speed up. My brother is facing heart stopping stress, backbreaking work and utter exhaustion to hold off complete financial ruin … and he is losing the fight. My friend K is facing a life threatening illness with very slim chances of fending off having to make a terminal choice. And my friend S just buried her father and has to fly home to the west coast while leaving her grieving mother on the east coast. And then there are the myriad of friends facing hard choices about what to do with their ailing parents who increasingly need almost constant care.

Everywhere I look, I see loved ones facing some very hard choices and looking desperately for some new options, some alternatives to what seems like impossible choices.

And so today ... For my brother, my friends, and people suffering everywhere who may feel sometimes that crying is not an option … I pray to the gods. I pray that the tightness loosen, and that the rough areas recede. I pray for sweetness and joy to fill their lungs and heart in whatever way brings them some respite. I pray for concrete answers to desperate prayers. I pray for forgiveness and resolution. I pray for compassion and miracles. I pray for lightness and real laughter that eases away despair. I pray for divine intervention and love. I pray for second chances and fool’s luck.

Today, I pray that in this hard, hard world of constriction, restriction and limits, that my tears, my real and welcomed tears on their behalf, will give them what they need to buy a vowel.

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