Thursday, March 25, 2010

Saying Goodbye

On Thanksgiving of last year, I met a remarkable woman. Having never before lain eyes upon me, she hugged me, welcomed me into her home and fed me. This Thanksgiving will not be the same, however.

Mark's mother is dying. And he is going through something I cannot imagine. So I will stand beside him, bewildered at times as to what to say or do.

I just returned from a short visit with her at the hospital and was startled to see a DNR bracelet circling her wrist. Though I have known for a couple of months that the end was not far off, seeing those letters on the brightly colored plastic shook me. This is a woman who I want to know better. She played an enormous role in shaping the man I love, providing him with an enviably happy childhood as well as continued support, love and friendship to this day. And while it's devastating to watch he and his family lose their matriarch, I selfishly wish for more time with her for my own gain. I want to sit for tea and learn of her education and career in Sydney as a biologist. I want to hear stories of rearing four children on multiple continents. I want to thumb through photo albums and listen to her chronicle her own childhood.

But instead, I will hold Mark's hand, offer the rest of the family any support I can provide and enjoy the remaining time I have with his mum. I have far more tears than words right now. This is uncharted territory for me.

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