Nobody can control life or death. But we can try. We can will certain things into being, just as we can will certain things out. But we can’t control everything. Like timing.
I remember planning for my daughter’s birth. I had planned and envisioned many things, wrote them down. I had dreamed of a new way of giving birth: I wanted to give birth at home, with midwives, and I even thought I may want a water birth (though I wasn’t sure). My son was born in a hospital the usual way. I was young and inexperienced, and it was the right way for me at the time. He was healthy and strong, and all was well. This time, I wanted the freedom of roaming my own gardens, relaxing by the big maple tree outside, being with the dogs and family, and just being at peace with everything.
I got exactly what I wanted. Except the time. As most pregnant women who are in a hurry to get to the finish line, I waited and waited. I wrote down braxton hicks contractions. I formulated charts to predict when this baby was coming. I imagined the date it would happen and wrote it in my calendar. I had it all figured out. Except this baby was not coming!
The midwives arrived one night when I was sure “this was it”. We gathered in my room and began the procedures. I walked the floor and talked. I soaked. I lounged. I did everything I was supposed to do. Nothing happened. Everybody went home.
The next day I slept in. I lounged by the tree, just as I had imagined. The irises were in full bloom and the dog was sleeping at my knee. I was in full bloom too! The day went on and the contractions increased. Everybody came back. Everybody waited outside on the deck. My son, who was now 5 was still in school. By 5 o’clock, the grandparents went for a walk to go get him and take him to the park. In that span of 15 minutes, Heather was born. When they returned, they had a granddaughter and sister they had never seen before.
Ironically, she was born June 11, 9 months after 9/11.
The same holds true for death. (I have many stories to tell about this, and I will get to it.) But for now, my grandmother waits in the hospital, counting her days. She is holding out for her own “birthday” so to speak. She has her ideas, hopes and fears like everyone else. Others wait by her side counting as well. Hoping she will pull through, or hoping she will go in peace. Whatever she wants, she will get it. Just differently.
I only hope that in the waiting, the miracle of living comes first. And in that is all time.