If I die tomorrow: 6 ways it would stink and 7 ways I'd live on

stairway to clouds

My husband and I recently had yet another discussion on death and dying, as mid-life, long-married couples are wont to do. (It's not just us, right?) Our conversation led me to consider how it's often said that toward the end of life, many folks lament and regret not having said "I love you" often enough, if at all, to those they love the most.

I don't have that concern. I do tell...

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What matters

As I write this, someone in my family is dying. I told myself I'd keep this out of my blog, away from here. Because here is where I do my best to create an upbeat, positive spot for folks to visit. This isn't upbeat, positive.

Mostly, though, I wasn't going to write about this because it's her story, not mine.

But my story is that I'm struggling with this, need to write about this. This person I love, dying as I write.

I wonder what to make for dinner as she wonders if the breath she's taking may be her last. I pack for a trip, try to catch up on things that matter for my future, when she doesn't have one.

That sucks. So much.

That's my biggest thought, that's my biggest struggle.

My struggle, though, is nothing compared to her struggle. Or the struggle of her kids, saying goodbye to their mother. Or the struggle of her husband, who's trying to come to terms with his wife being told she has only seven more days to live.

And that was several days ago.

I love this woman like a sister, can't imagine our family without her. But we're not close. Unfortunately. She married into the family I married into nearly a decade before her. Though we've been part of that same family for years, miles kept us apart, distant. Thirteen hours worth of distance by car, I keep thinking, as Jim and I contemplate the logistics of attending a funeral.

She and I would send cards and photos at Christmas. Occasionally "like" something of the other on Facebook. Consider the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad of this family we both married into. For nearly twenty years we've done all that together yet seperately, from our own homes while attending to our own families.

She's only a few years older than I am. Her two kids are a few years younger than mine.

Her two kids who are now married.

Her two kids who have not yet had kids of their own.

She never got to be a grandma.

And that makes me so very sad. For her. For her kids. For her grandkids who will never know her.

And so very sad for her husband. My heartbroken brother in law. Her biggest fan, her greatest admirer. The one at her bedside—a hospital bed now set up in their home—watching this strong woman who changed his life die, decades upon decades before she should.

Not that anyone should die young, but this pillar of a person especially shouldn't. She's the best of the best. One who does what needs to be done. Cares for those who need to be cared for. Loves without limits. Makes the plans no one else feels like planning. She remembers and does and is. In all the right ways, at all the right times. Effortlessly.

She would have made one helluva grandma.

And that makes me so very sad.

Cancer doesn't care though. Doesn't care who's young, old, grandma or not. Doesn't care who it makes so very sad.

The last few days, I think of what she's doing as I'm doing what I'm doing. None of it makes sense. None of what I'm doing seems to matter at all, when what she's doing matters so much.

What she's doing just plain sucks.

So very, very much.