Friday, February 23, 2018

saying goodbye

In 2017 my dog, my brother, and my dearest friend all had cancer.

It was too late for my beloved dog, we still miss her so much.

My brother had 6 grueling months of surgery and chemo, 6 months of physical and emotional distress, and is now in remission and feeling stronger every day. He had his port removed a few weeks back and is slowly becoming himself again.

No one was joking when we said 2017 was a bitch.

For my darling friend it has been a year of surgery and chemo and more. The cancer is relentless.
We have embarked on the long, painful, surreal, beautiful, terrible journey of saying goodbye.

How does one do this? Turns out, like everything else in life it happens despite you. Days follow days and each day the reality grows - simultaneously filling you up and hollowing you out with grief, anger, disbelief and immeasurable beauty.

There is utter screaming rage at this senseless thing - this cunt of a disease which takes so much, which marches on regardless, which is not satisfied to just break the body but must simultaneously break the heart of the person you love as well, inflicting so many different kinds of pain.

There is grief which stares at you blank-faced around corners.

There is fear for the future, for tomorrow and next year. There is horrified disbelief that we live in a world where so many thousands of women die from a disease which is not yet curable.

And there is so, so much love, so much gratitude. So much honesty and freedom in the cavern of pain which allows the space to say 'I love you. I'm so grateful for our friendship. I am not going to be the same person without you. I will miss you forever.'

These are not words I'd planned to say to her for another 40 years, in reality I'd never have needed to - we know this about each other - but I'm saying them now every day, in my heart and in my words. These are the words which we use to stave off the darkness, to keep the glow of love burning brighter, for now.

There is a different kind of pain in finding comfort, a sting of guilt, but I must find peace in the places that I can - and my over-whelming gratitude for her influence in my life is the calmest well in the midst of this sadness.
That I will never say goodbye to.

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