Yesterday was filled with poignancy as I visited the woman, thirty-four years my senior who nurtured me as a young adult and expressed value in me as a friend despite our generation gap. She and I knew she was living on borrowed time. Despite my passion for the dignity of a home death (as an ex-hospice nurse) and her love of her simple familiar home, the whole family had agreed she would be staying in hospital.
“Is that what you want?” I asked.
“It’s not what I want, it’s common sense” she underlined. She referred to her husband’s tensions and limitations with his caring responsibilities at home as ‘Daddy’. She took me by surprise. I had never heard this before and it was as if I had been ushered into her family inner circle. She had been my pastor and mentor as well as friend. With with just one turn of the head, she could both unnerve me and instil healing acceptance and assurance despite my tendency for self-criticism. Again we sat here together at different stations of our lives. It was just that both of us were about twenty years on from the season we had first been involved.
She was keen to reiterate to me that there was nothing she had done that she regretted, perhaps nothing she hadn’t done that she regretted. Though probably in some ways she had missed out on a whole world of things! No, the one thing she would be anxious to convey was the importance of doing things today.
“Don’t wait till tomorrow, don’t think “It’s not the right time of my life”, or “The children need me now”.
“Do it today…….”
She knew had risked losing concentration, blighted by her illness. She had risked the obscurity of her writings, with all its apparent randomness. She had gambled with the death of all her richly nurtured insights over these last few years and she knew it! I felt a warmth of affirmation. Having taken a reflective look at myself over the last eighteen months. I had already put writing firmly at the centre of all I want to do.
Now is the time! Her book is edited and formatted. I have set my sights to publish one of my four or five various drafts of another
book of my own by November. My dear friend will die empty and completely invested!
But not quite yet!! In a few days’ it will be her 83rd birthday and she will be receiving the first hard bound copy of her writings along with the real hope of a worldwide influence in time.