Waves of emotions swelling up in my brain, or perhaps my heart, and spilling over down, down, down through the nerves and fibers to connect with my fingers and the typing begins.
Tonight we have the flu and the internet is out, so we look at pictures on my phone. Pictures of you, Scott; your gentle, ever smiling face with eyes that turn down at the edges and always made you look like a puppy. So endearing always, and forever. We watch as the mistake I made in taking photos in the “live” mode turns out to be the blessing of watching you move your well-muscled arms in the rhythmic beat of the kayak’s paddle. Watching Amaya skip along through the early summer fields in their riot of lupine, to catch up to you and hand you a bouquet of them, each carefully chosen to please her most beloved Daddy. In fact, I am struck by how many pictures capture this special love between littlest daughter and adoring Dad. My heart clenches in my chest as I hear her soft sobbing beside me as we gaze together at the so recent, but forever gone, images. Those giant emerald eyes, awash with tears, gazing up at me, looking for something I don’t know if I have left. I dig down deep to try to find something to cling to, to give me inner strength. Like someone lost amidst a violent, turbulent sea. I grasp wildly and my hand comes to alight on something; a log, or a piece of a broken jetsam, and my fingers close tightly and desperately around it. It is a prayer, or perhaps more exactly, a plea, and I hear it echoing, ebbing and flowing, making its way upward to emerge from its watery depths with a choking breath. It starts low, quiet, almost guttural, and builds in intensity and passion until it screams from my lips uninvited. Why? Why? Why?
But I already know the answer because it was an answer to a prayer; His wanting to die without any pain, without being disease ridden, or without part of his body or his mind, working. He wanted it to happen quickly. He wanted to go with me, but if that wasn’t possible, he wanted to go first. I told him no; I was the weak one. He was so strong, and brave, and capable. But no, I am glad he didn’t have to go through this monstrous thing of being left behind. I hear His words everywhere; in everything I read, and from the preacher, and from my kids and my friends. Jesus is with me, but I still feel incapable of life.
Avari is leaving in a couple days. Jake and Alli are coming for her and her little dog, Lollie. Buddy, Amays’s bearded dragon, left yesterday to live with his “Dad”, Amaya’s friend, Ben. They decided on a shared custody arrangement. Trying to imagine how to get the old Newfie, Sera, down to Indiana to live her last couple years with Abby. Ultimately, it will just be my old dog Bandit, and Scott’s old cat, Tiggy, and I. It had to be done, but I thank God I’m too numb to feel it; the fragments of my family that were left when he left, falling apart, being caught up by breaths of wind, and carried away. Amaya clings to my side, following me everywhere like a little shadow, or an abandoned puppy. She still finds something left in me to cling to, to find comfort in, to find safety and security and familiarity. Is there?
I am no longer capable, even of the work of healing I love so much. Something happened that hamstrung me, a word spoken out of turn, and now I limp into the clinic each of my remaining days praying I can be of service to help heal, and make whole again, my patients whom I love so dearly. But I fear, instead, they are pouring into me. They with their angry, grieving, fearful tears are as bereft as I am. We cling to each other, trying to express what each has meant to the other in an ever shortening moment in time. Minutes we were sure we had for times, time, and half a time, now slipping through the hourglass more and more rapidly as fewer and fewer grains remain.
I hate to go. I love this rugged, wild, beautiful place. I love what God has done through me at this isolated little clinic, but there is no doubting it is over. And so I lay in bed in the dark with tears trickling down the sides of my face, staring at the ceiling instead of packing things up. I don’t want to get up and cook dinner, or sweep, or clean, or even read a bedtime story. I don’t want to shower, or wash my hair or put clean clothes out for the morning. It still stuns me to see the sun rise each morning, even though life as I knew it is so desperately, awfully, painfully over. I don’t want to pray, but that’s OK with Him as He sits quietly by my side anyway, Jesus that is. He loves me. He cries too.