The End of Life As Seen by One Just Starting Hers
I remember the phone call as if it was a few moments ago! " I met a man and I want you to check him out", my friend said. One of my five finger friends, had recently ventured into the land of middle age dating and was excitedly proclaiming that this one was worth the friend review! "He attends your church and is an usher at the 10:00 mass so let me know what you think, " she breathlessly requests. Church is always my place to get the answers to all non-answerable questions, but now I was on a real mission. I had only a few rather non-descript details to go on, but knew him immediately. He was tall, handsome, and obviously confident! The only thing missing was the T-shirt that said, " I met a fantastic woman last night!". He got the official stamp of approval, which was never necessary, because they connected spiritually, intellectually and physically without the drama of youth romance, but with the understanding of real commitment and deep love. Four years later, my friend walked down the aisle with a glow that defied science to the man that she hoped to share wrinkles, watch as hair slowly recedes and nestle into a life of knowing that you are someone's world. But it was not meant to be. A fraction of time and two devastating words-esophageal cancer, plunged them into the traffic of continual ongoing vehicles- rushing to appointments, trying new treatments, speeding to the ER, having hope, feeling hopeless, riding an emotional roller coaster, all the time wishing for the bustle to cease and normal to revisit. During positive responses to either chemical or surgical treatments, they traveled, laughed with friends or family and shared the so often trivial joys of gardening and watching movies together. Faith was a constant companion and the handle he grasped when pain, harsh reality or fear enveloped his body and mind. "S" was accepted, supported and loved by my friends. She received countless holiday gifts from them and they always had an ear for the latest baby, toddler, soccer girl news and often time downright ridiculous stories of my journey with re-parenting. When asked who she wanted to pray for each night, she would always whisper his name because she knew he was sick. She drew pictures and invited my friends to be her "family" during her VIP" of the week (kindergarten recognition), lunch. They all endured the school lunch and my friend weathered into a sea of germs to be there for her. It was the last time she saw him. He died on February 15, with his last goodbye to his valentine and caregiver of three tumultuous years. For the very first time after thirty-nine years of parenting, we had to tell a six year old about the death of a friend. Without hesitation, my husband explained what is still difficult for me to understand. However, "S" lives in world that is meant to make sense and that logic prevails even when God is mentioned. So she tells me before I visit my sorrowful friend, now a grieving widow and having no words of explanation, " Nani, I prayed every night and our friend still died, but I know why now. God looked down and saw that everyone kept trying to help. Nurses, his wife, family,doctors, but no one could help him. He could not walk, was in constant pain, and God was sad. So he decided that it was time to help, so he took him and now he is all better and happy!". I miss my friend, have absolutely no words of real consolation or a better understanding of a life gone too soon, but "S's" bit of way too simple wisdom is the best mend for a broken heart....
Garden Ridge, Texas