Yesterday afternoon my brother found out how fleeting life is – and everyone else did too, vicariously, through him. At the very least he found out how quickly life changes. He was coming down a ski slope on a mountain in New Hampshire where he works in the winter, although he was not working at the time. He lost control – no one knows how - left the slope and hit three trees. Fortunately he was skiing with a group of friends who saw it happen, and they were able to get to him quickly. He was face down and unconscious. He came to quickly, and evidently was in quite a bit of excruciating pain (and I imagine couldn’t breathe very well either.) He broke 5-6 ribs in several places, front and back; broke his shoulder blade; collapsed his lung and has a concussion. Fortunately there was no life threatening head trauma or spinal injuries. He was taken to the local hospital where he was stabilized and preliminary tests were done. Then he was transported by ambulance to the Maine Medical Center Trauma Unit in Portland, ME, nearly an hour away. They say he will be “okay,” although it will take several weeks of recovery. And with that many broken ribs I would imagine a lot of pain and difficulty breathing, as well.
I’m feeling emotionally impacted by this event – which surprises me… My brother and I were never close, yet I am deeply emotionally moved by *his* traumatic experience. I suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of *love* for my brother! And I am moved by that fact. Love has not been a free flowing emotion in my family, so I have been surprised, and a little unnerved, by these swells of repressed emotional waves. It also became important to me that my brother *know* that he was loved – to allow those swells of feeling to crash out onto the shore, be expressed – breaking free. Except I couldn’t talk to him…
It has also been a little unnerving not knowing exactly what’s going on, not being able to *do* anything, visualizing my 6’-2” little, obnoxious, stubborn-headed, invincible brother smacking into trees, helpless, vulnerable, and in pain. Plus, trying to get through to his life partner of 15 years, whose cell phone is not always working, finally making contact and hearing the trauma in her voice, was unnerving. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone trying to find out as much as I can and keep my 81 year old mother encouraged with frequent phone calls.
So I would say I’m feeling a little challenged at the moment – challenged to keep perspective and not let the little me run off on its emotional journey of anxiety that often comes when I realize, over and over, that I’m not in control of where and how life goes. I’m also feeling challenged by this new movement of Love that I’m experiencing and don’t really know how to express. And I’m challenged by the uncertainties of life that this life experience made acutely clear. It is also clear that I can’t rescue anyone from their life experience or their pain and trauma. It has brought home, once again, the fact that life is just being lived - with its pain, sorrow, heartache, and trauma – in its Totality… You just have to show up. So I focus on what needs to be done, whatever is called for to meet this situation, and to offer what I can from 2000 miles away, or 30 minutes away – maintaining perspective and trusting in an ever-present Presence living Itself in *every* experience – Love in motion.
But it’s been a very weird day.
Photo - Bill Kennedy