All of my life I needed and necessitated my friends and partners to look deeply inside of life and self. I wanted those close to me to articulate and talk about even the most difficult things. Some couldn’t and at times that felt like betrayal to me. I now see that I expected a bit much, a bit fast. I desired “the conversation”, for masks to drop, to speak and act from the core, in safety, and in love. Good intentions, but I have learned that this is not how most the world operates, masks are constructed for personal safety and take much time and effort, if ever, to release. I continue to view each person as whole and competent in in their own emotional experience, and it pains me when masks obscure this, maybe it scares me because I don’t truly know who the “you” is behind the mask. I now understand this struggle as a personal lens, rather than a truth or solution, and this lens has colored much of my journey. I wish I had found a way to befriend kind masks as safe(ish) and necessary, and had figured out how to live within the separation they create. My demand for words seemed fair, “just tell me”, but most of us live parts of our lives in a space where there are no words. I instead lived as a master and lover of words. I honored words as an incredible tool and art form. But, as with anything, too much signals lack of balance, bringing outcomes that are generally ineffective, often harmful. I now understand that words alone can’t bring us safety or into balance.
Through my illness I have found friends and family who could speak and listen with selfless quiet compassion. These friends, their words, our conversations, have been a blessing for me. I have moved and continue to evolve in how I know myself and how I understand the dying process. I am now learning, to my amazement, that there is much more waiting for me beyond the words. As words and “doing” fall away I drop into the quiet subtle place of being. I am soothed and alive at this new quiet level. My meaning arrives through the senses, it comes from naps with the puppy, feeling breeze ruffle my skin, enjoying tea and toast with the sun and birds, and in being allowed the safety of returning to my bed and books for much of the day. The biggest blessing is my daughter’s smiling face, which greets me at my bedside each morning, no demands, and no worries, just there. Not many words needed any more. I am safe, loved and being allowed to die without “fuss”. It is wonderful to feel the world spin around me and still peacefully let it all go. I now understand fully that dying is indeed an “alone” experience, but not necessarily a “lonely” one. As I move more and more into the quiet, you will lose the “me” you used to know. Please hold memories dear, because although there are sparks of me still, there is likely not enough of “me” to meet social expectations or kindle the old familiar flame. I am a dying person now, fading from the person you knew. I feel as if I am literally becoming evanescent, turning slowly into fairy dust. How does it feel?…good and freeing. If this loss pains you, please remind yourself that there is something out there, beyond words and doing, which is really wonderful. I will wait for you there.