It is October, which means that everything is awash in pink. While I am glad for the reminder–a reminder to slow down, to take care of yourself, and to never take things for granted–this year it all takes on a whole new meaning, a new depth, a new personal significance.
I had lunch with my old boss today, and we caught up some more on all his family has had to endure over the past few years. For them, this glaze of pink hits close to home. He admitted to me that it seems like their journey is nearing its end. His wife is in hospice, and the best case scenario gives her two weeks…
I can’t breathe. I peddle my words for a living, but the words seem so inadequate now. I try to imagine what they are feeling, but I recoil from my speculations and gasp for air as I bat away the imagined shadows and darkness that seem to lurk everywhere.
Perhaps more than what comes afterwards, that final countdown of breaths terrifies me. It robs me of any grace and strength and leaves me whimpering.
Perhaps I could manage a moment of courage, one final stand, but I don’t know that I could summon the day-to-day dignity that I see in others. I don’t know that I could face impending death with the same bravery.
I wish I had words. Words to lessen their pain, to offer them comfort, to build their strength, to ease their transitions…but I have nothing to offer but shared memories, a gentle squeeze of hand, and a steady voice while a once-vibrant life, so carefully built and tended to, returns to dust.
I found myself singing an old U2 song last night, and it has fluttered through my head all day today as well…
October / The trees are stripped bare / Of all they wear / What do I care / October / And kingdoms rise / And kingdoms fall / But you go on… / and on…
So as I try to find some way to honor this brave woman, I try to find some words to make sense of things…and I go on.