I never thought it would come to this.
Just a few months ago, we were laughing together, transforming an otherwise dull Wednesday afternoon into some magical learning session. You were the teacher and I, the student. You have taught me just about anything that a mother could teach a daughter. From trivial things such as how robins mate, to practical tips in the kitchen, to investing wisely, you generously shared what you knew. And I’ve taken all the learning I could get and have proudly shared them with people I know.
But today was different. Although I still announced my arrival with my usual, “Anne, I’m here!!” and you called out cheerfully, “Come on in, Beth!” we both knew that nothing about this day was normal. Although I tried my best to force a smile, my eyes were a dead giveaway. And you…you were trying to be your cheerful-self but the long pauses between your words made it obvious you were struggling.
Anne, how can you be so accepting of what’s to come? Where do you get the courage to face death as squarely? Show me. Tell me. I want to know. Help me understand, as you have done so in all our Wednesday afternoons together. Hold my hand as I try to chart out a new way of spending my Wednesday afternoons without you.
When I left your home today, I felt like going back and begging you to please don’t let me go. Closing the door was like shutting something so precious out of my life forever. I wanted to give you another hug; I wanted you to say that you would see me again next week–but you didn’t. Instead, you waved your hand at me and said, “till we meet again.”
Thank you, Anne. I am grateful for having had you in my life, no matter how short our time together. I am happy for the opportunity to share the last few months of your life with you. Thank you for all the times we giggled like teenagers; for the times you were stern with me; and mostly, thank you for the tenderness and patience in your voice as you tried to, in your own words, “woman me up.”
As we say goodbye, I promise to keep the memories in my heart forever. You have my love and prayers for a peaceful transition. And yes, we shall meet again.