I am cleaning the kitchen, wiping down the counter and clearing it of innumerable crumbs; refilling the napkin dispenser; sweeping coffee grounds into the trash; washing the girls' plastic dishes from Ikea.
Rick Ross comes on my iPod, but I'm not in the mood for his boastful and hypersexual rap. I skip past him to Sia.
I am torn between wanting to talk about my friend, who is desperately ill from metastatic liver cancer, and believing I shouldn't. I am going to see her later this morning, to stay with her while her husband is at work. So many of her friends have spent time with her this way. Her story isn't mine to tell, but I feel a strong desire to type it out with my fingers nonetheless. And this is most likely because I have been doing a lot of crying lately and just want some selfish sense of release.
Like a note passed in class or tied to a balloon and let go, or written on a paper airplane and let go at the edge of the Grand Canyon.
She's too young to pass into the bright ether.
This morning, Lillian said to me as she was brushing her teeth, "How sad for Tara's children." She continued brushing for a bit. "They won't have their mommy."
There is no lesson to take from suffering except to find beauty in the mess whenever we can. When I read about Susan Niebur's death, I cried for a long time. And even though she is worth all the tears shed for her, I can tell you that not all of the tears from my eyes had her name on them.
Yesterday, I wasted feeling down. I've been fighting a virus for nearly two weeks, and it's sapped me. I went to bed very early, and woke at 1:00am. An hour later, I crept downstairs for a change of scenery. Our sunroom was filled with light, which I at first thought came from the moon. A look out the window suggested that it was simply our outdoor light, which broke through the muntins on the windows, between the leaves of our plants, to make patterns on the floor. At 3am, Lillian came to see me, and I carried her back to bed despite the danger to my back. As I got her settled, I listened briefly for Hannah's breathing and went back downstairs.
Those were the things I tucked into my heart as I sat in the near dark.
When should prayers change, from asking for a cure to asking for a peaceful and good death? And is that a betrayal?
I think of the Pieta, and of Christ's broken body splayed across his Mother's lap. The very worst death for the very best person. I don't want my friend to die frightened. I don't want my friend, our friend, to die.
I need to take a deep breath, pick some clothes off of my bedroom floor, order some hoagies that I'll pick-up for us to eat for lunch, and of course, stop my crying. She's still here. I tell myself that.
GunsNRoses comes on my iPod. I know they don't tolerate crying, so I believe I'll stick with them for a while.