A friend asked me tonight if I’m feeling vulnerable lately. Me? Vulnerable? I immediately listed off all of the ways that I’m not at all vulnerable: a stable, well-paying job, a bunch of good friends, wonderful siblings, a fine apartment, etc. But I heard myself blathering around the question and tossing out all kinds of words meant to express that OK, perhaps I am feeling something, but it’s not vulnerability, for heaven’s sake. Maybe disorganized, unmoored, at sea, not grounded…any of those. My friend kindly let the euphemism-mill slowly wear itself down, and what was left was that word.
So yeah. Vulnerable. I guess so.
It’s a couple of things, I think. The holidays are coming, which are never my favorite time of year. They remind me of how much I miss my mother, who died several years ago. Since then, I pretty much hold my breath starting about now and wait for January 2. More immediately, my father and grandmother are both experiencing health problems and are both old enough that anything could signal the beginning of the end for either of them. My relationship with both of them has been complicated, so my feelings about their mortality are complicated too. And though I am 41 years old, an independent and gainfully employed adult, I suddenly don’t really feel old enough to negotiate a parentless and grandparentless world.
Vulnerable is exactly the word.