Many things were said as she faced her cancer. Many, many things. Long, quiet talks over lunch…questions…wonderings. Shared concerns and empathy going both ways. One leaving. One being left behind. The gentle touch of one hand laid atop the other hand. Eyes meeting. Knowing. Feeling the depths of the other’s heart. And then the moments of laughter! Loud! Raucous! Shared in exuberant joy and relief! Teasing…dumb puns…stale old jokes. Chiding. Truth and reality ignored in moments of abandon. Quick hugs. “See you later!” Normalcy. No shadows. Temporary partings.
Night falls, slowly, paradoxically…rapidly. A phone call to share trivia, then concern. An inner shadow betiding more darkness.
Morning comes. Light. Warmth from the sun, but the air is chilly. Greetings. One walks the dog for her. The other struggles to eat, alone, unseen, while the one walks. The shadows move in. She is tired. Through a unity of spirits and love, both know. The dog has walked but with little normal exuberance. His spirit and the two humans know. The sun will not dispel the deepening shadows this morning…this time. He watches her every movement. Still quiet. Still subdued. As does her friend with her. It’s different. It’s close.
They sit across from each other at the kitchen table. Silent. Fingers touching on the table. Energy flowing between them. Face wan, strained, but eyes still showing some light, she pushes her tired and hurting body up from the chair. The other stands also, moving towards her. To steady her? To help? No, to hug her.
Gently, they embrace. Tears roll down the cheeks of both, silently. Knowing. Wet cheeks pressed against one another, then she whispers, “thank you.” Not THANK YOU with force, voicing capital letters–no. “thank you,” that comes from the weary heart of a true warrior. The other whispers back, “always.” Both hearts have spoken a thousand words of love.
The next day she slips into a coma. The other sits by her bed, holds her still warm hand. She has to leave for just a bit, promising a quick return. The phone call before she can return. Her dog, on the bed with her, sits up and howls. Her spirit has left her body.
“thank you” dear and beautiful soul.
In memory of Ruth Simonson–never forgotten. Always loved. March 6, 2004.