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Consider it written in stone. The stone at the head of a non-descript grave at a non-descript cemetery on the outskirts of some field in the middle of nowhere. Here she lies.
This is how it will go. Tomorrow, there will be tears. Tomorrow, there will be a long, sad drive home and an even longer, sadder drive back to the place I live.
It’s hard to say how many people will be there. It’s summer, you know, and there will be no church service. I imagine only family and one or two friends will come.
The family will hug me. They will tell me how thankful they are that I went to see her when she was so ill and no one else was able to visit. Able. Inwardly, I will cringe at this word. Inwardly, I will feel hate and spite.
The family will tell me they love me after they’ve told me and each other what a big “help” I was, as if I’d gone to pick up their prescriptions downtown and not sat beside her for hours while she cried because she was in pain and no one else would come see her. They’ll say they don’t know what they would have done without me. Some of them will list all the reasons why they couldn’t come to visit her when it mattered. I will make a parallel list of all the reasons they should have come. My list will be longer and more substantial.
They did not kill her, but they did break her heart. My tears will be for her and for the injustice of it all. Their tears will force me to forgive them, to stifle the outrage I feel, because I, of all people, know guilt and grief.
I wanted her dead and now she is.
Most of the time, she fancies herself unstable but really, she is just incompetent. Really, she’s just a fraud. Really, she is just addicted to feeling sorry for herself.
Today, she would rather sit and stare at the stone-colored zipper on her fleece jacket than anything else, besides sleep. She thinks about how she could get a break and sympathy and peace and more sleep time. She thinks about perfectly packaged accidents and momentary quiet.
Nothing is worse than numbness, she thinks. But at other times, she thinks, nothing is worse than feeling. She’d cry but the crocodile tears have run dry. Her soul has run dry.
She’s been lucky and nothing more up to this point, but she’s about to be found out.
…because at the end of the day, I connected two comments together and realized how horrifying disrespectful it is to one person and how it’s also sadly true for the other. My aunt lays in the hospital with major health issues, all of which are simple peasant girls surrounding Queen Cancer. She needs a higher blood count and has an infection, both of which have to be treated before her next round of chemo. The disease and the chemo are aggressive, so we have to play the time game. Will she get well enough for her next round of chemo? Will she then be able to tolerate chemo?
Before I knew about the infection my aunt has, I said to poeticgrin: I would love to have the flu/sickness right now. I meant it for completely selfish reasons. Get out of work. Sleep. Doing nothing.
I want to be a little sick
When she’s a lot
When a little sick
Turns into intensive care units
To emergency units
To the time of death
To the morgue
To the funeral
To be buried.
Settle in your new chair
At your new computer
At your new desk
Into your new hairdo
Your new clothes
Your new friends
Your new life
And know you’re your same old self
And you will forever burn
For what you’ve done