“I think that the greatest act of courage is to be willing to feel. Willing to feel the delicacy of ourselves, the subtlety, the fragility, the vulnerability that ultimately is our greatest strength and our ability to stay aligned with life in a consumer world gone mad. The courage to keep unfurling, to stay soft, listening, open, curious, accepting. This willingness is what connects us to ourselves, and to nature in all her delicacy and beauty Time to soften. . .”
Well, no one can accuse me of not feeling during this whole period of our lives. This morning I was soothing Laureen after she was swept by a strong wave of nausea. I had gone to run a face cloth under some cold water for her forehead and after I placed it on her forehead my hands were cold and wet. I touched her feet and they were very hot and she told me that my hands felt very soothing and comforting to her. I started gently massaging her feet and I thought about how beautiful and smooth her feet have always been. She has always been very meticulous about taking care of her feet. She said her Teacher (yes, she really had a teacher as a teenage – actually two teachers, I believe) always stressed the importance of taking care of one’s feet and it was a lesson she never forgot.
So as I caressed her feet – as gently and lovingly as I could – and as those thoughts came to me, I couldn’t help but cry for the beauty that will be lost to me, and lost to the world. Laureen, sensing my distress, opened her eyes and asked if I was ok. I said I was ok – it was just a part of the sadness and grief that I feel and it is probably better to express it than not.
Later in the day, sometime around 2 PM, or a little afterwards, our friends Karen and Howie came by to visit with Laureen. It was nice that they were able to get here while she is still able to talk. She doesn’t have a lot of strength these days so maybe an hour or so and then she’s done. I let Howie and Karen talk with her while I gulped down my lunch (pizza) which had been delivered by Debbie and Patrick. That was very kind of them. Debbie has been a real Godsend – running out pretty much every other day to pick up groceries and other sundries for us. Really, mostly for me now since Laureen is eating and drinking very little.
So, after I finished eating I popped into Laureen’s room for a minute and placed my voice recorder down on a table without her knowing so that I could record their conversation. I’ve been going back and forth on this because a part of me realizes that once Laureen is gone, I cannot recapture what we have had for the past 12 years. It will be over. Oh, I will have my memories and all of our photographs and a houseful of her “stuff”, but the living, breathing love of my life will be gone and there is no amount of photos, voice recordings, or movies that will ever bring her back to me again. Still, after hearing her tell her beautiful story yesterday to Debbie and Patrick of how she saved the raven, I realized maybe there is something worth capturing that is really a part of her spirit. Now I don’t know what she talked about with Karen and Howie. After about twenty minutes she asked Howie to leave the room so that she could talk with Karen alone and I’ve pretty much got all of that recorded. I don’t think I will listen to it now – I think I will just hold onto it and I’ll know when I need to listen to it I guess.
Karen and Howie left around a quarter to four as Howie has to work tonight. I understand, without knowing for a certainty, that maybe this is the last time they will see her. I am sad beyond being sad and my tears are all shed. And yet, every now and then, I shed a few more at moments when I least expect it. And then I pick myself up and take care of her because in the end, she at least deserves to know that she is loved and she is comforted with love and she will pass, surrounded by love. It is the only gift I have left to give to her.