That's the text that stopped my breath. I knew it would. I knew it the second I saw it there, waiting. See, G shouldn't have been texting me. Because she's supposed to be spending time with her Mom. Her beautiful, lovely, sweet, tender mother. Her mother, who was supposed to grow old. Much, much older than this. And as long as G was not texting me and not calling me and not able to meet for dinner and drinks then I knew everything was still okay. I knew that they were busy together, laughing, cracking up over old stories. They were busy together holding hands, drinking tea. Looking out the window in silence. They would both still be here. Together.
In my heart I knew the next text I would receive from G would be the hardest one she would ever send to me. I was dreading that text. And it crippled my heart to know that she - my dear friend with the heart of a million good deeds, who walks the earth capable of only what is good, and kind, and right - that she would be sending it with tear streaked cheeks, and shaking fingers and sore shoulders - because she wouldn't have realized how tense she had been trying to physically, literally hold herself together.
I hate death. I hate that it's unfair and unbiased and I hate that I don't know what to do, or what to say. I don't know if I'm too absent or if I'm getting in the way. I hate how it makes clocks tick too loud and a room that was moments ago too hot and too stuffy feel suddenly and immediately cold and drafty.
I hate how my breath gets caught in my throat and no amount of anything can make me swallow down air. Air. If I can't swallow down air how can I possibly be expected to swallow down hurt and pain and loss and fear?
I hate how death makes me think about things I don't want to: when did my Dad start holding on to the doorframe when he steps down onto the porch? Old people do that. Will my daughter know not to slam on the brakes when it's raining; she could hydroplane. Does she know how serious that is? I need to call her right away. Does Big V know not to give the 3-year old hard candy? I don't remember if I told him. If anything happens to them.... If anything happens to me... Dear God, I can't think about that...
I want to go my whole life never being touched by a death too soon, or a death unfair... and I never want to hear about cancer again.... but that's not how the world works. Deep down I know that no amount of pleading prayers or bartered deals with God Himself is going to spare myself, my family, my friends or all of those eyes I look into when I turn to those who surround me.
I know that lives are cut short and the most we can do is treasure the time we have with those around us. I know that there is a circle of life that just comes with the territory and there's really nothing we can do about it so the best thing to do is pack it away, put it on the shelf, and make the best of the time we have.
But for now, right now... I cry. And I let my heart hurt.