Dying

“How are you doing?” we ask.

“I’m here,” she responds, not meeting our eyes.

“Yes. So HOW ARE YOU DOING?” we insist.

“I’m tired. I have headaches every day. I have to have another scan…”

We look into her eyes and see pain and despair as she now looks at us.

She speaks and we listen, with our hearts.

Oh, how we want to ease her pain from the cancer,

from a family that won’t deal with it, discounting her.

We rage with her at doctors that will not answer her questions,

lying and evading and prescribing without caring.

She’s dying–the cancer spreads–the professionals have given up.

Will she leave this world soon?

We remember another friend gone from cancer.

Deep conversations about death and the question,

“What are you most afraid of? The pain? The unknown?”

Her eyes looked into ours then, too.

“I’m afraid of being forgotten,” our friend says softly.

Her words strike our hearts.

We want to shout, “YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!”

but we know they will ring hollowly right now, right here.

We nod, tears overflowing, words choked silent in our throat.

“We who love you will never forget you. Never. Promise,” we say just as softly.

She reaches for our hand, squeezes it, smiles through her tears.

“Thank you,” she says simply, but with a powerful gratefulness and belief in our truth.

Remembering her, the one we love talking with us today,

we realize they both wanted simply to be acknowledged–

and remembered, not forgotten.

We commune with the one already gone,

as we will commune with the one slowly moving towards her demise.

Our hearts cry but in joy we know, KNOW,

they will neither ever be forgotten.

The one already gone left a legacy of love in our hearts,

the other likewise and still can and does.

How can anyone forget what is anchored in the heart?

Never forgotten–never really dying.

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