As the moon wanes on its path to meet its destination with the sun for a solar eclipse, my dear friend, Carol, marks time, one rattling breath after another. Last night, she told her husband to take the mask off, a mask to the C-pap machine that was ensuring that her breath would keep her alive. She was done. She was ready to accept that she would only have a little more time before she would take her last breath. I don’t know what it takes to make that decision, but I admire the clarity of her message, the courage of her choice.
I met Carol about 20 years ago. I had given a presentation at a professional organization, which she attended. After the meeting, she walked up to me and said, “I want to be your friend.” Simple, direct, bold. That was Carol. I said yes, and our friendship began. She knows my stories, my insecurities, and my secrets. I have trusted her that much.
It’s been a long struggle for Carol, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago. I love her even more as her end is close. My memories of her seem more precious now, impossible to take for granted. My heart feels full; my body tired. I don’t know if it’s my least or favorite time of living. I hate saying good-bye, and yet feel more present, more in contact with the people with whom I had been sharing a vigil, more sensitive to all the nuances of being together, that I can’t think of anyplace else in the world that I would rather be.
As of this writing, Carol is still holding onto life. It’s a mysterious time and space between here and there, a decision to let go that most of us fight our entire time on earth to avoid.
Dear friend, as your journey on this earth is drawing to a close, I hold you in my heart and prayers. When it’s my time to go home, come help guide me through. I trust you will. See you on the other side. Love you. Jozeffa