it’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM

25 01 2011

When someone’s horribly injured, or terminally ill, it seems I hear an astonishing number of people say that they didn’t go see someone because they don’t want to remember someone “that way”.

Horse-shit.

I’m all for honoring yourself and your limits, but come on. Get over yourself. Yes, I clearly remember her discomfort, her puffy face, her scant scraggly bits of remaining hair, the flaky grey skin that wasn’t quite hers, and even at the end: her struggles, sweats, and gasps.

Yes, that memory is very clear. Crystal clear. But so what?

I loved her. Any discomfort I might have of what images might linger wasn’t diddly squat compared to what she was up against. There are loads of other memories. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to NOT be there. How could it?

She needed comfort. Most especially right at those very moments. And what a privilege for me to be able to be there and hold her hand, stroke what was left of her hair, breathe with and maybe even FOR her at times, and speak soothing memories and comforts to her as she endured the pain and fear until she was freed into the big peaceful unknown. Most of us aren’t so lucky– squashed on the highway, heart-attack alone, and if you’re one of the lucky ones you’re in a home for years and years only to end up choking on the mashed peas– I just hope I’m as lucky to have that kind of love surrounding me when it’s my time.

As awful as those long minutes were, and as much as I wanted them to pass, both for her to be out of discomfort and for myself to be out of it too, at the same time I wanted to hold onto every last precious second we had together.

So yeah, I remember. Some may call those images ugly. And I suppose they are in some ways.

But I see it differently.

Sure, I still cry when those images come. Because they were beautiful.

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