The Saddest Thing I've Ever Heard...
“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
It's the saddest thing I've ever read, the ending I mean. As I read to Zo... at first restless, and craning her head to hear, and then almost at once, asleep...I struggled to finish sentences. The overwhelming emotion of those last fifteen pages is astonishing...unexpected...overflowing with sadness. We grow up. It's the most heart-breaking thing we'll ever endure. Sitting there on the floor, my daughter sighing softly towards sleep, I read quietly and paused to swallow my emotions. In the room's half light, with a sleeping child who will never again be as she was today, it struck me just how tragic it all was. I don't remember a thing from my childhood, hardly an evening, and yet surely my Mother remembers everything...surely she clings to more than I could ever recall. It's sad. The saddest thought I've ever juggled. I finished reading, Zo having long since fallen asleep, and as I rose to leave, I paused. If I could freeze time in just that moment I would have. I remember a whispered prayer to the darkened sky when Zoey was first born. I told the stars that I'd happily sacrifice all of my left over lucky days if only she, my daughter, could have a lifetime of that same luck...that the universe could take my forevers as long as it gave them to her. I'm grown, and there's no sense wasting pixie dust on me, but she deserves buckets of the stuff. She deserves so much more than I fear I even have to give, but I'll try, and each night as I read to her in the dim light of her childhood I'll hesitate before turning down the light. It's right there on the edge of her bed, between sleeping and dreaming, that I'll always love her, but she'll grow up, and she'll forget, even as I'm still clinging to every memory, and like the end of Barries book, its the saddest thing I've ever heard.