I didn’t expect it.
It’s like that saying, If it’s everyone’s job, and anybody can do it, then nobody does it.
That means it never happens.
So if it happens to everyone, at any time, then it always happens, and the ‘always’ is rendered down to never.
But I got the news that my dear dear friend Bonnie has an incurable disease.
Death has come up to walk beside me. It’s too soon. I want this to be not now.
So, as I move through my days, my days whose numbers are the same they were yesterday, one less only, I think about death.
Bonnie’s days are not the same they were last year. She knows it. I know it.
And that knowledge walks with me. The knowledge, the ineffable, walks beside me.
I have known death before. I have had friends die. But not like this. It was a intersection, a flash and gone.
What?! he is dead? you must be mistaken.
But no. And no. No mistake. Only a huge irrevocable one, And the end.
And no one was ready. Am I ready?
NO. I have too many things to do. I am not willing to let go.
What must Bonnie be thinking? I think she thought NO too.
I avoid death. We all do. Mostly.
Be careful! Do not cross the danger line. Don’t even get close to the danger line.
Wear a sweater. Drink water. Take your vitamins.
Lots of padding between the now and the end. Don’t sit too close to death. Don’t put yourself in the angel’s path.
As death walked with me, I thought of it. It was coming to stay. To stay as long as Bonnie was here. And then probably a bit longer. There is an afterwards.
Okay. Who is this? Cloaked and patient. Sitting at the table, ready to recieve hospitality. Tea would be nice.
Cloaked. I thought. A skeleton? the grim reaper?
no, Not rattley and bright. That’s not this one. This is misty and cloaked.
Man or woman? I regard the presence as it accompanies me. I look for the masculine, the feminine. It is neither. And yes, that is right because death is an angel and angels are neither male nor female.
I see death, that mist. That cloaking, obscuring mist.
Stay away from me! I have things to do! I have things on this earth I still want
I think of the church prayers. Put away the things of this earth and set your sight on heaven.
right, sure. But not yet.
Not really yet.
Except that I have a choice. Bonnie is coming to the end of earthly choices.
The misty angel is sending misty tendrils around her, and they will eventually surround and obscure her.
Gone. No peeking.
My church also has a very explicit understanding of heaven and the afterlife. At least, more explicit than some.
Pictures of all the people who are there already surround us in our homes and in church.
Look, Mary the mother of Jesus! Look, John the baptist, Jesus’s cousin!
And all the saints from America. And St. George the dragon slayer..And Xenia, the hardworking hod carrier. And my personal one, Elizabeth the martyr of Russia. All these people, like the guest list at a party already there when you are arriving fashionably late.
Things of heaven.
This misty angel walks with me. I am not ready for Bonnie to go. I can only wrap myself in the incontravertible fact that there is not a damn thing I can do about it. That every breath I take is a gift from God anyway, and any time he wants to not grant the next breath he can.
That’s not stopping me from praying for a miracle. And it is not stopping my angry tears against the coming loss of my friend.
I got nothing. I don’t know what I can offer her now. She’s always been the one to help me–the one with the bit of wisdom or the obscure reference book to help me out with a question.
I got nothing. I guess I’ll just do what I can, stumble around and hope that whatever i can give- phone calls, visits, whatever-is helpful to her.
Probably we are all stumbling and incompetent right about now.
Lord have mercy.