When life began and I was young you were the bogey man. You were the one to fear, the one to hide from, the one to avoid at all costs. You were the enemy, the anti-thesis to all that I wanted, to all my loved ones wanted for me.
I grew. I had children. Then you became the one to fear with more intensity than I thought possible. Your arrival had to be stopped at all costs. You could never be allowed to meet my children. Not inside, not outdoors, not accidentally, not at all. They had to be kept from you forever with diligence and care. The constant vigilance of the mother hiding her babies from your unpredictable gaze.
How is it then that the thought of you now brings me peace? You have been here since long before my birth, the ever present inevitability, the thing to fight off as long as possible. You were supposed to be the one being no one ever wanted to meet. I know there are some who rush to embrace your presence with open arms but I have never truly been numbered among them, too much of a desire to see what’s left to come I suppose. Yet despite my desire to avoid you as long as possible, I find I no longer fear you.
In fact, sometimes now I dream of you. At night you visit my sleep in different guises. A mugger carrying a gun, a shark in the deep blue sea, a poisonous spider hidden in a sleeping bag, a peaceful sleep surrounded by hordes of loving great grandchildren.
When I dream of you, I don’t scream and shiver. I don’t toss and turn. When I dream of you, I feel relief. I feel peace. I now know that when the two of us finally do meet, the pain at last, will end.
Who knew it was pain, and not death, that was the ultimate enemy?