Friday, May 16, 2008

Saying Goodbye

There are many reasons we would say goodbye in a lifetime. Perhaps it's to move on from an old relationship. We say goodbye to friends and people we love as they set off on a new journey in their lives. And sometimes we say goodbye because someone we know is dying.

I've never encountered this. Until now. When I was five, my grandfather died. It barely made sense to me then. And two years ago, I lost a student. It was so sudden, there was no time to say goodbye. And it rocked me to the core. I couldn't believe that one moment, he would be celebrating Halloween - dressed in full knight garb - and the next, he would be fighting to breathe and then be gone. It crossed my mind that the last time I saw him, he got his turn to be the pirate in a game we played together. How insignificant, really. But it brought some slight sense of peace to know he had been given his turn.

Well, today I thought of my dear ex-husband. I wonder if that sounds odd to some people. My dear ex-husband. He has been given an extremely rough life. Brain cancer at the age of 23. Remission until age 28 and then it roared back just as a bill of health was sure. I'm getting ready now to say goodbye. And I want to do it well. The last few months have been so hard for him. He's had to come to terms with losing speech, losing mobility, pain, loss of sense of touch, sight, and hearing. I only want his final days to be beautiful and full of the best. Full of good memories and song. I want to put on a beautiful dress. I want to make my skin glow. I want to smile. I want to emanate beauty and light. I want to share all the beautiful memories I have of the two of us and I'm hoping he will be able to share some with me. I want to dance with him a last dance. The dance that brought us so much joy at our wedding. And if he can't dance, I will sing to him. If his last day passed without me being able to share how much I love him - how he made an impact in my life - and how he will not be forgotten, it would be difficult to forgive myself.

It's hard to talk about this now. And I think it's hard to explain how much I love him, and yet how assuredly I know that we were not good for each other. In the end, his words and actions suffocated me. And my own words and actions choked him. But all the beauty is worth remembering. So in the middle of tears, I hope my words and my presence bring joy to his last days and that he can pass on into Heaven knowing that he is and will always be loved.

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