(Image courtesy of tumblr)
I will never forget the sound of my boy’s voice when he said a quiet “hello” in the hall of our university. In a moment we traveled from strangers to everything. And in a quite uncharacteristically sappy fashion, I was deliriously happy. I annoy myself, looking back at the giggling that ensued. But that’s what happens in life. If you’re lucky, you find your match and that’s it. They are suddenly there, standing in front of you. You join hands and move forward never thinking of what might lurk around the corner. But sometimes this connection we share with loved ones in our lives can be the hardest cross to carry, like when they pass away.
Yesterday I placed my near daily call to my mom to catch up on our respective days with our thousand miles of separation. After allowing me to chatter on about nonsense she interrupted me with the news that her dear friend passed away that morning. It was not sudden or unexpected as S had spent the last eighteen months of her life fighting multiple ferocious tumors in her brain. In the span of a season she went from a Master’s educated professional woman with a vibrant personality and humor with its own brand of bite to a distorted and mute shell who was nearly unrecognizable between the disease she was fighting and the medicines used to help her hang on for just a little more time.
Over the months, I would ask my mother for an update on S. And the answer resolutely darkened while it trudged towards the same end. I kept hearing, “she is still here, staggering on, waiting one more day to breathe…” But really, truly, it was time to say good-bye. At least to those of us on the outside. I don’t know her husband, or her children, or her friends besides my mother. However, her speech had gone. Her independence long since left. She was relegated to waiting silently in a chair for her days to wane out. And the heartbreak of that scene is nearly unbearable to imagine. If it was my boy sitting on the porch in misery as his entire self slipped away like dandelion seeds in the breeze, I am not sure how my heart would contain that kind of sadness and loss.
But S and her family have been brave in the face of this crisis. And now that she is gone, I am sure she is not looking back from the other side of the curtain. She is happy and free, filled with the speech she so recently lost. I suppose that is soothing to those left behind, but still… I can’t help but squeeze my boy tight and be thankful for every solitary day that I have in life with him by my side.
Hold your love ones tight. xoxo