I tossed and turned so much last night, that the cat grumbled a harumph and hopped off the bed. I joined him on the living room sofa at 2 a.m. Perhaps, I had hoped, I would find the magic words to share with a dear man who has begun hospice care.
Yesterday, his wife, one of my top-tier friends, announced her beloved’s fate via social media. The comments that followed showed that this was shocking and sad news to many.
When my friend married this man forty years ago, his peaceful manner glowed like the sun in the morning. He didn’t seem to overreact to those things that get in the way of a good life. If their country stove was out of wood in the middle of cooking, there was no crisis–just grab the hatchet and quickly split more wood and stack it in the firebox. Crisis averted. While I missed the years that they raised teenagers, my guess is that he held steady and strong.
He reminded me of a man I will forever admire–a fellow who took life as it came. Oh, that fellow had weaknesses and faults, but he kept kind and calm when the proverbial chips fell. Never once did I hear his voice raise or blue language fly from his lips like a sudden storm (and like me). He was a leader who walked in humility.
To be like that man is an honor. And when that man transistioned, the people who knew him shared volumes of memories and words that said he was a kind and gentle human.
That’s how I see my friend’s husband–a kind and gentle human. A gift.
It seems unfair that a rare cancer has written his fate. For that, rationale escapes me.
Obviously we don’t walk the planet forever. The time comes when our body takes its final rest. For my friend now in hospice and for his family and closest friends, they have this time to share the good in their lives and create a memory that will last forever.
Still, I don’t know what words to share. Platitudes are pointless and weak. Honesty and sincerity bolster strength. What if this was me or what if this was my beloved? What would I want to hear? What would I want to read?
Perhaps this is a time when less is more. Perhaps this is a time when we follow my friend’s lead–calmly assess the circumstance and meet it with gentle dignity. And if tears come to our eyes, let them flow.
So to this dear man, I say, thru my eyes you have always been a good person who I respect. Respect remains for those who have earned that degree. It is forever.
To my top-tier friend, you know how much I love you. I am here for you at any time.