I had one of those déjà vu moments – déjà shoe actually – because I looked down at my shoes and had a fleeting thought that they had been exactly there before. Have you ever had one of those? They can feel so real and some would say that they are; there are spiritual and esoteric theories about the phenomena. Déjà vu has hit me over the years and I refuse to waste a lot of mental energy on the theory of it. After all, I only have so many synapses firing. If I try to analyze every thought of a previous thought that might or might not have been an actual thought, I would get stuck inside an internal Inception vortex from which I would never recover. I think of those moments as brain farts and move on.
Only at this particular moment, I knew for certain that I had been exactly in that spot. And I knew precisely when.
Science has various explanations for déjà vu. Besides my vaunted brain fart theory, this is the one to which I subscribe:
I would dumb that down for you, but when a statement uses the word parahippocampal, there is no dumbing down.
I love my new job. I love feeling like I am daily making a difference in the fight against childhood cancer – the mission I was given by Kylie. I work with an incredibly dedicated team who are great at what they do and all passionately devoted to the cause. They made me feel perfectly welcome from the day I started and not just because they needed me to lift heavy things and reach the high places. I have been there only four months, but in some ways, it’s like I’ve been there much longer.
And sometimes, I get to meet the kids and families who are in the middle of the fight. I see hope, fear, and angst in their faces as if it is written in indelible ink. I read them as only one who has lived their story can. Whenever I have the opportunity, I love being able to serve as I was served. I am always careful to not reveal my story because all I want to serve up is hope and encouragement.
This was what I was doing when I experienced my déjà shoe. I was serving when I realized I was standing in the very place where exactly two years prior, a huddle of doctors told me that Kylie’s cancer had spread beyond hope of treatment. I couldn’t look up at them anymore, I could only look down at my shoes. I will never forget that place. Four days later, she would be dead.
One might ask why… why would I put myself in a position to relive my pain and loss every day? I have gotten that question a few times and my answer is simple. I am a simple man, after all (ergo the brain fart theory). I reply that being at home is no easier – I drown in loss there, too. In fact, I have found no place to take my shoes where I am free. I can run but I cannot hide.
So, there I stood, looking at my shoes – wondering about the fact that two years ago I hated this view and now I love it. And I hate that I love it.
I awoke from my shoe reverie because a mother with deep creases of story written on her face needed me. We talked briefly. She smiled through a battle-weary fog. I returned her smile as I was taught by my girl and hope the encounter recharged her.
And somewhere in heaven, a little girl smiled down because she had led my shoes to exactly where they were supposed to be.
February 13, 2017 – 2 years gone today and missed every minute.
Source for science stuff: Deja Vu : Scientifically Explained | MEDCHROME