I am dead, Horatio

She came into the office Monday, his wife, one of my favorite women. She came in Monday and, as is typical of her, asked about me. Hugged me in that all consuming way she has. They stopped his treatment several weeks ago. “He’s so strong,” she said. “He’s just so strong.” And she meant that the tumor had destroyed his brain, but his body was vigorous. A terrible gift.

And yet.

What would you wish? What can you wish besides no pain? Or a miraculous cure?

He died this morning. The grief is fresh and impossibly old. We always have to figure out how to carry it. How to adjust for its weight.

What can we do but sit beside death? Just hang out there and make friends. This is love, man. This is love. The cost is always pain. How will you have yours? I’d like mine to come with practice. Not a surprise. Not a struggle. I’d like it to come like this. I’d like time to talk it over. Time to make peace with the parts of me that will be no more forever and the parts of me that will go on telling stories.

You don’t get anything for long. That is why we are precious.

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