Tuesday, September 06, 2005


A phone call came yesterday from someone who had word of my friend. "There is no hope," she said. She wanted me to understand that the time for hope was over so that I could begin to prepare myself for what the doctor's say is inevitable. "Maybe as short as a couple weeks now. Possibly sooner."

I didn't cry. I just sat staring, thinking. Prepare myself. How does one prepare oneself for such a thing?

More than anything else right now, I want to get on a plane and go to him. Even though he has my cards and letters, I selfishly want to look him in the eyes and tell him how much he has meant to my life. I want to hold his hands and tell him that I am so lucky to have known him and that my life would not have been complete without all that he brought to it.

"You know how much you meant to him, Sherri," she said. "I don't think he ever got over the way he felt about you." I wonder if it makes me a bad person because I like knowing that.

I can't go to him. There is no room for me there now. He is surrounded by family and by his wife...who I only found out the other day is still in the picture. I had heard that the two of them had separated. I guess impending death can settle differences that previously only seemed to be solved by divorce. I am relieved that he has someone who loves him sitting by his side. I hope she is holding his hand when he leaves that bed.

My sister wanted to know if I would come home for his services. I could barely stomach the question. No, I told her. I can't. It would seem so horribly ironic to wait to go to him when he can't know I'm there. Besides, when I close my eyes and see him now, he is still the man I knew. Tall and handsome and beautiful and different than anyone I've ever known. I can't allow the image of what we do to our loved ones when they pass to replace that picture.

I tell my husband every few minutes that I love him. I need to be sure he knows. If anything were to happen to me or to him, I cannot stand the idea that he may have wondered. Same goes for lots of people in my life, past and present. I wish I could gather them all together in a big room and tell each of them what they have brought to my life; how much they meant and how lucky I am to have been surrounded by so many wonderful people.

This week is the meeting with the "specialist" my father will see. He is sixty-one, but he feels much older. He wanted me to understand during our last conversation that more than anything else, he fears a nursing home. He is giving me something that he hopes will comfort me if the worst should happen. He wants me to be able to say, "At least Pop didn't have to go to a nursing home". He thinks that will make me feel better. I can't think anything would make me feel better if I lose Daddy.

Someone called me to offer support, but in doing so mentioned that, "these things come in waves of three". Now I look at everyone I love and wonder whether they are the third. Obsessive-compulsive fuel.

Today another letter and card will go in the mail for my friend. I will struggle for the right words and I will sit quietly for a moment before I close it, hoping that some of my love for him will imprint itself on paper.

I love him. I love many, many people. I want them all to know.


"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Copyright © 2004-2005, Sherri Bailey
This blog may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.

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