There are those who connect us to the world. Those who love us, care for us, look out for us. Those who ensure that we don't lose our grounding. Who ensure that we don't drift too far off of the ground, higher and higher into the air, into that infinite space. Holding onto us like kids gripping balloons at the state fair.
They grip the string more tightly when the storm comes. And steer us away when we veer too close to a sharp edge. When the wind blows too much and we start drifting away from the usual friendly faces, they tug us in closer.
These days, I can't help but notice all the broken strings around me. The large one that used to lead to my sister. The mainstays to my parents fraying, more and more, day by day. And so many friends I have lost along the way, who wouldn't know whether I'm still alive or dead, but who would surely remember me fondly if I weren't here.
I hold on so desperately to the one leading to Jeff, but with just one grounding point, I feel myself spinning and thrashing even in the mildest of storms. I sometimes reach out to grab the ones leading to my friends, but at the end of my tether, I often feel too exhausted to even try.
I feel lighter these days. And the lightness is unbearable. I am all too conscious of the empty spaces inside me that used to feel filled.
When I talk like this, Jeff gently reminds me of those who rely on me to hold onto them. Like our little ones. Himself.
And I see it. How grounding others can ground us. How the four of us form a huddle, however small. So I hold onto them, and let them hold onto me until I feel myself settling back down.