Someone we love is dying right now. Not the abstract “we’re all going to die someday” kind of dying. The real right now kind. The kind that will leave us with broken and grateful hearts. Wishing we had a few more days, or months, and yes, years.
It’s making me anxious, which is not what I expected. I expected sad, and I am. I didn’t expect to feel like my own clock was on speed dial and I would be racing to catch up.
Steve and I are lucky enough to have all four parents and several aunts and uncles in their late 70s and early 80s, so this is something we might need to get used to. We’ve talked about it for ages, knocking on wood with every conversation. In the past two years, we’ve lost five. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I am not interested in giving anymore of them up.
Yesterday our cousin told me, “They are my fabric, and it’s unraveling.”
Last night Steve said, “You know, 80 is where it terminates. That’s it. Maybe a few more years, but it really doesn’t go much past there. And that’s where they all are.”
We are 56 and 58, and we’re doing the math. We’re counting our time with them, and our time with each other.
And the time we own for ourselves.
I don’t think we will get used to this.
So much to do. To say. To be. To experience, gather, question, answer, love, laugh, cry, hold tight, let go.
It’s Sunday morning. He got out of bed at 3:30 a.m. to drive two hours for a 100-mile bike ride with three of his best friends. I woke up at 6:00 a.m., lit a candle, read three newspapers, wrote a little, talked to my oldest daughter, planned two trips, and will take my nephew to San Francisco for the day. The plan is to eat oysters, score awesome coffee, climb a few hills, check out Chinatown, and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
We do what we can.
No time to waste, my friends, no time to waste.
P.S. I wrote this piece about a month ago. We’re in the next chapter now, and while I am not ready to write about it, I can share this: There is always time for love. It’s been a remarkable journey and we’re honored to share it with our beloved aunt. My anxiety has been replaced with gratitude and lots and lots of love.