My friend, A, is dying.
This hurts. It has hurt for her and all of us since she was diagnosed and my heart continually breaks as I enter a new stage of grief in this process. My heart breaks knowing that since her first surgery, she has not had a life, she has been butchered and tortured, and smothered by her loved ones.
I am trying to figure out the meaning of all this. A and my father-in-law (died in February) are/were not spiritual people. I am not saying that we all need to believe in God. I dabble in my half-assed belief and still can't stand and deliver on the faith thing. But, having a spirituality on some level is better than despair. The despair is as real and hard as the cancer that invaded both of them. My father-in-law, while not ready to die, was at least equipped with the knowledge that he was older and had lived his life. A, on the other hand, is younger than I am. She is the symbol, the poster-child of the unfairness and utter meaninglessness of it all. Really. We all needed her around for at least another 20 years. I'm being generous, here, Providence!
I realized that A is the first friend that was close to me to die of disease. Slowly, agonizingly, and with total awareness. Other friends I've lost have been through accidents, freakish things that plucked them suddenly and dramatically from life. In those instances, we were sad and shocked, but somehow able to feel immune to it. It was not us. It was them. They who died by accident. With A, I'm realizing that I could get cancer too. I could die. Children are left without a mother or a father a LOT. I'm noticing this, more and more--friends who lost a parent when they were young. This scares ME. It becomes about ME. The lost of my friend, but also the lost of the great, wonderful, necessary me. I feel so selfish and horrible when I think this.
I'm trying to learn. I'm trying to learn the right words to use. I have made many mistakes. I am trying to live my life and be funny without seeming like I don't care. This is so hard. I'm trying to teach my kids to keep their comments to themselves. They do not. I'm trying to understand the complexities of the family dynamic. I don't like getting involved in these things. I think about my crazy early years where I lived and worked around people like me: free, healthy, disconnected, clueless. Those days are over. We have entered a new phase that includes death, deteriorating bodies, and much pain.
I used to wish and pray for immortality. Now, I pray for peace.