I read somewhere that part of the privilege of being human is getting a moment when we can say goodbye.
How would you react if a friend shared with you that her death was imminent? What would you say or feel? What kind of support would you offer and then provide? That’s what I had to figure out.
My Friend Is Dying
We had worked together, years and years ago. When I left our mutual employment, we maintained the friendship from a distance. We’d catch up, a couple of times a year and it was like we had talked just the day before.
So her call today was most welcome. But her voice, somehow, was different. Just as joyful, but somehow serious as well. “I am dying,” she told me. Matter of fact, straight forward. No embellishment. A simple statement.
I knew she was battling one of those unfair and deadly diseases. But they had kept it at bay; until now.
“I’m not afraid,” she told me. I’ve done right during my life, I know the Lord, and I am ready.” She was headed to hospice.
My first thought was that I had to go and see her. Then I thought better of it.
We had not been in the same room together in 32 years. I had an image of this tiny, exuberant blonde lady with beautiful blue eyes. The right direction now was to let us both keep our images of our young and eager selves.
There are lots more phone calls. They get more difficult as the days roll by.
She has less stamina and coherence.
But here we are together, keeping our friendship fresh and bright, right to the last day. On one phone call, when we say goodbye, it will be goodbye for good.
P.S. And that was that. We laughed on our phone calls and shared heartfelt imaginary embraces. The inevitable was seldom mentioned No need for discussion on that. The purpose of our calls was to relive good days and repeat the mantra of gratitude for having had each other in our lives.