Trying to Deal with this Death that Just Happened.
by Sweets and Sweaters
I lost my oldest friend.
Not a friend that I’ve known for the longest, but literally my oldest friend. She was 90 years old. I was her volunteer companion in hospice and she died three nights ago. I saw her more often than I see most of my family- once a week for three seasons.
I didn’t know last week was the last. I had a good following week planned. I wasn’t going to get up to get a chair when she held my hand. I wasn’t going to break our connection when it came. I was going to stay where I was needed- with her in the moment.
The next week, though, didn’t go the way I planned. Or maybe it did. Because I stayed where I was needed- with her, each of the three days she spent dying.
I was there for her last afternoon, the last time she opened her eyes and her last breath.
I watched it all happen and I still don’t know how she’s gone.
I don’t know how our 8 months didn’t turn into 9. I don’t know how I don’t get another chance to sit with her. I don’t know how our time together is over. I don’t understand how it could all be over so fast.
Yes, fast. It only took three days for 90 years of you and 8 months of us to be over.
But I understand it was slow, too and you suffered a long time.
Still. I wasn’t prepared and I always thought our last visit would be more obvious. Like I’d have an instinct. Or something unique and meaningful would happen and I would be able to hang on to that while I grieved. But it wasn’t like that. You held my hand and I walked away to get a chair. I saw you out of the corner of my eye look at me, but I didn’t look back at you.
You reached out to me. And I wasn’t there.
I knew it then and that’s why I was going to be better next time.
But I didn’t get a next time.
Not the way I wanted one. Not in a way I knew you were listening.
I don’t know if you knew I was there. I don’t know if you heard the things I said to you. I don’t know and can never know if you understood how much you meant to me.
I don’t know how I’ll be able to accept all this, but I know regret is a natural part of grieving.
I just hope that during our time together, you didn’t feel alone. I wanted to be there, not just with my body but with my heart. And I was scared a lot of the time. Scared of the vulnerability and openness. You were always so brave with yours. So generous with yourself- your love and your yelling, alike.
I hope you knew the truth, that despite my lack of frequent expression I loved you. But maybe you didn’t. And I’ll have to find a way to accept that.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” –Rumi
And boy do I have quite a few barriers.