“Keep me with you.” Those are the last words my girlfriend said to me on Saturday, before her face drained of color, her eyes glazed over, wide open, unblinking.
On Saturday we went to a women’s soccer game. Last home match of the season. We met after a game last summer, and spent the subsequent months falling in love. In fact, it was in the same stadium that I told her I loved her for the first time. We’ve attended every game together since, visiting the same team that brought us together. Saturday was the last home game of the season, with record attendance, and vibrant Aries full moon vibes. The beginning of a fantastic night.
As we watched the match, we cheered, shouted, giggled. Just before halftime, my girl leaned into me and said she wasn’t feeling well. I handed her water, and asked if she wanted to go take a break. She shook her head, and looked down at the field. Then, suddenly, she gripped my hand. With urgency, she said, “Boo! Keep me with you. Keep me with you!!” Then suddenly, all life seemed to leave her body. The color drained from her face, and her hand became cold. Her eyes stared straight ahead, unblinking. Her lips quickly became purple. In just an instant, it seemed I had lost her. Lost everything. A sea of pain washed over me and time moved in slow motion. All the memories we’d never get to make. All the lonely days I’d have to endure without her by my side. It all hit my chest, in one split second of terror.
I stood up and shouted through the packed stands for a medic, help, anyone who knew CPR. I frantically tapped her cheeks and tried to turn her face to mine, but she was stiff and unresponsive. She slowly started to fall down to the side, like a cold corpse among a crowd of cheering fans. It wasn’t until her body shot straight up into the air and fell into the next row that I knew she was alive. That was also the moment that terror finally found the others around us.
After a few moments she sprang back to consciousness. Her eyes were wild and frantic, only calming when they finally found mine. We were relieved. We had kept each other here. We knew we had more days together. We knew the only thing that mattered. Us. Love. Life. Time. Gratitude. “Keep me with you.”
The subsequent events aren’t as important as that moment. The medics carried her down from the stands, and into an ambulance. To the same hospital where she spent my birthday week last year. The place that fundamentally changed us, challenged us, strengthened us, healed us. She is currently on the mend, I won’t go into the details here. She is safe, loved, and has a good medical team.
However. Her words keep ringing in my ears. Keep me with you. It chants with my beating heart. The mantra that fills my lungs. We don’t get to keep the things we love forever. Every wonderful thing in life eventually has an expiration date. It’s part of the contract of the living. You’re granted life and the sensual experience of being in a body, but you have to honor and respect the fragile nature of that gift. The ride can end at any time. Nothing is guaranteed.
It can take a threat, a loss, or a miracle to bring us to the edge of our awareness. To fully drink in life, you have to realize what’s on the line. You have to face the possibility of death, of loss, of heartache eventually. We all do. But that awareness is what can also birth the most profound appreciation for life. Keep the things you love with you. Wrap them tenderly in your heart, and nurture them at all costs. Live life all the way. Deeply. As far as you can go in pursuit of your dreams, of happiness and love. Appreciate the wins, and mourn the losses. Take enough chances. Try enough things. Pet enough dogs. Do whatever it is you came here to do, because you might not get many more days to do it. So fill them wisely, with loving care. You may be at a soccer game enjoying yourself when your love abruptly ceases to breathe. You may be given another chance. You may not.
So when you wake up tomorrow, try to remember what’s most important. Your most beloved dreams, memories, people, and things. And then, keep them with you. Keep them with you.