The Tide Come In & The Tide Go Out, And the Waves They Come Toss My Little Boat About*
There are songs, at least two of them I can think of off of the top of my head, telling us we should "live like we are dying".
I'm not sure this is great advice, since, from my particular point of view at this moment, living like you're dying seems to involve spending a lot of time stuck in bed, and having your dignity stripped away from you one piece at at time.
But, that's probably not what those songs are talking about.
What I think about, as we watch J~ slip away from us...well, I think about a lot of things.
Sometimes...I think that I have never seen a sky so blue or a day more vibrant. I took a picture of the courthouse on my cell phone the other day because I was struck by how pretty it looked, how quaint and lovely. The squirrels were frolicking on the courthouse lawn and all the trees were blooming.
It's the same courthouse I see nearly every day. But, in that moment, it was as if I was seeing it for the first time.
I was joyful, in that moment, watching the squirrels, smelling the flowering trees - joyful in that moment, almost blissful. And I think - and maybe I'm wrong - that my ability to feel joy in those moments has a lot to do with knowing that J~, were he walking next to me, would feel joy.
He has always been one to find joy in small things, and his heart is so big.
Other times I am engulfed with the sadness of his absence, or rather his anticipated absence.
I had an amazing opportunity, recently, to see one of my favorite musicians play live. We had incredible seats, 4th row center seats - we were close enough to count the strings on the artist's guitar. The venue was sold out, the audience enthralled - and I spent most of the evening feeling like I was intoxicated by the whole experience. And then the concert closed with a song so mournful**, the sadness that swooped through me upon hearing the lyrics was painful. I cried through that last song...
This is such a strange roller coaster of emotions.
I cannot watch or listen to the news right now. It's as if my brain is incapable of processing it - my mind jumps immediately to, "the world has gone mad because J~ is dying and the Gulf is full of oil and therefore the world must be coming to an end" - and I have to turn it off. Because I don't want my head to go there.
I cannot bring myself to watch any television that hits too close to home, and sometimes I cannot figure out what, precisely, has hit me as something too sad. Husband and I watched the first 20 minutes of Couples Retreat - a movie that stars both Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, both of whom I usually LOVE - and we turned it off and sent it back to Netflix. It's probably a funny movie...but the first twenty minutes made me so sad I didn't want to watch any more of it.
Yesterday afternoon I had to look for something in J~'s desk. It feels wrong to sit in his chair, and it strikes me that the office has been cleaned so many times since the last time he sat in his chair, that his office no longer smells like J~'s office. Now it just smells like an empty office, an office that could belong to anyone. Which is silly, really, because everything else that made it J~'s office is still there - his photos, his law books, his files, his desk drawer full of novelty pens. But all of it is overshadowed by the knowledge that he will never occupy his office again.
It is clear we have come to the end. There is no miracle coming to wash the cancer from his body. The cancer eats away at every part of him now. I ache with the finality of this knowledge. I am angry with God, the universe. I want to smack people who tell me this is "God's will" and "God has a plan." I cannot conceive of a God who would decide to do this horrible thing to a man who saw his 58th birthday only YESTERDAY.
In a just world, J~, who is kind and good and joyful, would have 30 more good years. But he doesn't. It was his last birthday.
* Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Leaky Little Boat
** A song, unexpectedly and painfully, about the untimely death of the artist's uncle
(As always, this link is not mine, I don't know who placed it on Youtube - the song is from Mark Knopfler's most recent album Get Lucky).