She was right. My mother. She was right. She told me again and again that the world does not revolve around me. I didn’t really know what that meant, I just knew that SHE said it, so it must be fought against. From the time I turned fourteen and on, I replied, “Well, it should….” defiantly each time she reminded me. This usually prompted anger and more cliches, “It’s not the Jessica show!”, for example.
It was the day he died that the truth of her words caught me, like an unseen rise in the curb snagging on a new pair of heels. And suddenly, I was falling, broken. We were driving home in a borrowed van, from my grandparents house three hours away. My Grandpa had just died that afternoon, minutes after I walked in the room and sat by his side. I felt it. There was no loud beeping, or proclamation from a doctor. I just felt him leave. Like he was walking out the door to get milk, or something, only this time he wasn’t coming back.
I remember my teenage self sitting in the back of that van, looking at all the other cars in amazement. People were coming and going, with no idea that the world had just changed. Laughing and talking in minivans, like nothing was wrong. I could not believe it. My chest sinking under the crushing weight of his absence, every part of me numb with those first cruel hours of grief, and people were oblivious.
I felt it again when I became a Mommy. Have felt it with all 5 of my children’s births, really. Looking out the window of some high rising hospital, in the soft blue hours between night and morning, holding a miracle to my breast. And in those tender moments, feeling my heart screaming against the cage of my chest that everything has changed. Theyarehere, theyarehere, theyarehere! And people walk by. Even nurses go on about their jobs, when my whole world will never be the same. Failing to notice that the most wonderful thing has happened, that my baby has come safely home to me and is actually in my arms!
It’s amazing, isn’t it? The amount of impact one life can have on others. We see it all the time. Both for good and evil. Who will notice when I am gone? What will I have done that lasts? I want so badly to make a difference. To make this world better while I am in it. The truth is, that this world will not stop, not for me. It will never revolve around the axis of Jessica,( thanks, Mom). But maybe, just maybe, I can make it kinder in its turning, for someone.