I’ll Embrace The First Blossom…
I sit here on an unseasonably beautiful Sunday, admiring the glowing light of the sun, thinking of my dear friend Sabine, who is at this moment breathing her life’s final breaths. She had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease less than a short year ago. The symptoms progressed rapidly. Sabine was losing much of her ability to function at a landslide rate.
Eventually, she was unable to walk, use her hands, talk or swallow food, water, or take medications. The insertion of a feeding tube only caused her more pain and discomfort. Knowing the indignant and physically painful end that would be sure to follow, Sabine spoke with her physician about the options before her.
She then chose to enter the hospice phase of her disease and voluntarily withhold food and water so she could die in a way that preserved her dignity. On her terms. To allow people to remember her for who she is and was. To spare her husband Kelley and her daughter Olivia further pain and heartbreak. This decision was made and represents the grace and love of who she is. Today is day seven of her journey.
To see someone your own age, so young, and that you care about, respect and appreciate go through indignity or pain is heartbreaking. Well, it’s more than heartbreaking, though we’ve all been or will be here, loss of all forms is inevitable and necessary; it’s just impossible to find any words to describe the experience.
I had tried to connect with her over the last few months and communication was getting tricky. I realize she had many people that wanted to see her. She had family from Germany that were coming to say their goodbyes. Sabine’s energy levels were waning with very limited waking windows of time. I suppose she might have been slightly embarrassed over her diminishing physical capacity.
Knowing her, I am sure she was mentally, emotionally, spiritually trying to sort out what the remainder of her life would be, spending time with her daughter, husband and other immediate family and having to get her own human head into how to accept the inevitable premature end.
Her daughter Olivia is 13, my daughter’s age. This is the bigger stake to my heart. I think about all the hopes, regrets, lessons and life that were left to share. The little things of first dates, report cards with A’s, walks in the rain. And all the bigger life events like graduation, wedding, and being the guide and support I, as a mother, had been designated to be. Caring for our kids and being strong and alive for them is how it’s supposed to be. As imperfect and idyllic the notion is, anything else is inconceivable.
Yes, none of us really know…
What we do know is that love is real and always flourishing when we allow it, especially when we’re raw during crossroads like these. The moment is now and I want to share my joy and love for the privilege to be touched by Sabine’s warm smile and generous laughter.
Sabine, you are authentic and kind. You are a loving mother to Olivia whose grace is apparent by all that you teach her. You are courageous to fully accept the juxtaposed strength and frailty of life and immerse your spirit into the flow of what is…
Thank you for your sharing your beautiful light in my life. You are a true friend and kindred spirit. When the springtime arrives, your favorite time of year, I will greet the first blossom I see with an embrace and a smile because I will feel you and your hope there beside me.