We’re in that impossible time that happens when a loved one is dying. Time stands still, and yet it doesn’t. The hours stagger along, the days just fly. I mumble a prayer of “Let time stand still” and wish at the same time for it to rush by me. I want to stay here forever, exactly here, with Handsome Husband ill, yes, but everything being managed. Because if we don’t stop right HERE, then we will be at “just last week he was here and now he isn’t” and that is just too unbearable to contemplate.
I want it to be 4 years from now, when the worst of my pain and grief has happened. Or I want it to be, oh, I don’t know, one year ago, when things were still okay. When yes, his cancer had returned but we didn’t know it and we were happily adventuring. When we were ignorant of this time.
However I wish it to be one or the other, we are here and now and striving to make each moment count. So much of our time is consumed by cancer management, adjusting pain medications, massaging legs to help the edema, battling fevers, chafing, dryness, changing bedding…the doing of cancer. But I know, we all know, that we must make these moments count in the most intimate of ways, because Handsome Husband’s life is coming to an end. There must be moments of connection between he and I, between him and all the people who love him near and far. Those moments that are emotionally charged and yet kind of ordinary, as the minutiae of life is discussed, or final goodbyes said.
The outpouring of love for this man is staggering. Not unexpected at all, but staggering nonetheless, because the whole six degrees of separation thing is happening big-time as friends of friends of friends extending further than the eye can see, contact us, telling me what it means to them to see our face book page updates and pictures as we document Handsome Husband’s final part of his earthly travels. It staggers me and our kids.
These moments. Stop the clock. Let the moments stay. And, at the same time, push the clock hands ahead, faster and faster, because this is unbearable. This man who has been in my life for 23 years, who has loved me, protected me, stood by me, engineered magic for me, adventured with me, will soon be a closely held memory in my heart. And I don’t want the memory. I want the man.