We want to think we have some level of control.
In our lives.
In our health.
In our kids health.
We want to believe that we can somehow influence the way we feel through diet, or exercise, or mental control. And sometimes we can. We want to believe in the greater good, and believe in the “everything will work out” mentality. And sometimes it does.
But there are times when we get the stark realization that we honestly have no control over life. Our minds are trapped in our temporal bodies. Our spirits our strong, but our flesh is weak. It is our nature to fight…our bodies naturally fight bacteria every day. We desire to be strong; to be able to live strong. But illness can strike at any moment, and the illusion of control is shattered.
I watched a friend as she was losing her fight with cancer. This past weekend I sat by her bed and watched her as she was slipping away. Her body consumed by an incredible force that has taken total control. And I cried because she is a beautiful soul, a gifted teacher, an incredible friend, and she is way too young to be dealing with this. I cried because I was angry. Because she is one of those friends that once you know her she is ALWAYS your friend, no matter what the distance is between you or no matter how long it’s been since you saw her last. She’s one of those amazing friends that loves deeply and unconditionally. Her friendship was a gift to many, and I was one of the many blessed that knew her.
Why couldn’t they have done more for her? She doesn’t deserve this. Thoughts circled around in my mind as I watched her lose cognitive control. Trapped in confusion as we tried to explain to her what was going on, over and over again.
I sat there knowing this would be the last time I saw her alive. And I thought about what to say to her. What do you say to someone you will never see again on this earth?
There were moments where I would freeze up. I didn’t know what to say. Nothing I could say could even remotely make this situation better. I didn’t want to think about saying goodbye to her.
The rawness of her condition left bitter tears streaming down my face.
There were times when we talked about memories that we have shared through the years. And for a brief time we laughed about recollections, we reminisced about things we did together. And when the moment came, I told her that I love her, that she was a beautiful soul, that her friendship was a gift. And she smiled as she closed her eyes from weariness. It was time to let her rest.
I was reminded once again that she was losing her battle.
How fragile life is.
The reality that we don’t have the control we think we do.
My heart broke as I left her lying there. I gave her one last hug, knowing that the next time I see her, she will be in a casket. That realism has stung me to my core. The sorrow overwhelms me, and I feel as if the world is spinning around me and I am standing still watching everyone live their lives and it’s all a façade.
The world keeps moving. And I want to stand from a mountain and scream at the top of my lungs, “STAND STILL! THIS BEAUTIFUL LIFE THAT IS PASSING DESERVES REVERENCE!”
But life keeps going as I grieve. As much as we have no control over life, it keeps going. And it reminds me that I have to keep going, too. That I have to cease these moments I have on earth, because they are so limited. And I need to tell people that I love them, and I need to forgive easier, and give of myself more. I need to be a better friend, a better mother, a better wife. Because it’s not things that matter in this life, it’s people.
Beautiful people like Kris.
Kris, remember this?
Remember when we were making him,
And you suddenly said, “Ooo, let’s give him a heart!”
And I was mesmerized as I watched you
Take red Kool-Aid and form a heart
In his chest.
I was just a little girl,
But I’ll never forget that…
We gave a snowman a heart that day.
And now this heart is for you.
I love you Kris.