I’m terrible at remembering dates. I can tell you about the temperature associated with a memory, and who was there, but don’t ask me to remember when it happened.

I remember where I was sitting in the emergency room, that long Saturday. You had struggled through the week, refusing to go in.  And then you texted early Saturday morning that you had taken yourself, in the wee hours. So we joined you, in the waiting.

Proof that I cannot remember dates; that Saturday was not the 8th of November. But it was the 8th, when you awoke to a semi-circle of doctors and interns who handed out their diagnosis and sent you home. I have help in remembering this day as you share it with Donald Trump, in his election.  End times.

There are a lot of things that quite simply, cannot be judged. It’s more than judge less, love more. It’s not to judge at all.  You didn’t have the fuel for your rigged up jeep, to head out one more time.  A veiled metaphor for a man with an enduring body, whose heart had taken one too many hits.  My peace is not up for judgement either; it’s your presence and your gift (to me).  And your death was not on the table for persecution, but you definitely felt the attack.

“Great, you doubt me too,” you said as you dove back under the covers, “Call and cancel. And I don’t want to see anyone today.”  I wanted to regret echoing the words of the palliative nurse, that you could change your mind about Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID).  But I had also reminded you to hold the feeling of your choice. And so I sat down in the chair at the foot of the bed.  “Pickle,” I said inside my head.

Pickle was another word from my powerful friend, much like Mmmhmmm.  She told me it was a valuable shield. I wish you could have said pickle, when the texts and calls started coming in.  People lost in their fear and choosing to hand it to you . . . because you had carried so much for them in the past.  People who clearly were not thinking at all – nor had they asked – about your suffering.

Is it ok that I am talking about your fear? Because I think it needs to be known. Your living and your dying, it is an example. You would have gone on forever, in that enduring body of yours and with the questions you carried, about what came next. For you. For us.  This was all so entirely normal, just as much as it was excruciating.  People need to know that it is not always peaceful, in the before. They need to know the questions are ok. “Should I have done more?” you asked me, as I sat behind you while they set up the IV.

No. Remember? You were doing the best you could.


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