I’m sure that most people who lose someone close feel some sort of guilt over the loss.
I know I have. But after thinking deeply about it and talking to others, I’ve found that I was looking at it the wrong way. This isn’t about me, it isn’t about my life. It’s about hers.
Ever since she broke her tailbone slipping off of a ladder a few years ago, she’s had pretty bad lower back pain. For some reason, the doctors never gave her anything for this and she’d never take Tylenol (she used to tell me she was already like a walking pill bottle, she wouldn’t take anything else (unless prescribed)). She wouldn’t take calcium to help with her bone health. She wouldn’t take the yummy calcium chews. She always felt she knew better what she needed than anyone else (except, of course, a medical doctor).
She had lived the past few years with bad pain in her back, which made it very hard for her to get around. She tried, God bless her, but it just got worse. The osteoarthritis, the osteoporosis, the broken tailbone, it all took a toll on her aging body.
Then there was the emotional pain she was feeling. She had a bad childhood, one that left lasting scars on her emotional heart. She didn’t speak of it, so I don’t really know for sure, but she had told one of her friends that all of her friends had died. Only one that I know of had died, but the others moved away and she didn’t speak to them often. She was deeply depressed.
After dad died and she got the bills paid off, her goal was to save $100,000.00. To have that much in the bank when she died. She hit that goal last year. I remember her bringing over her paperwork and having me add up how much she had saved. She was pleased. She was “done”, as she put it. This didn’t make sense at the time, but now, it does.
On Wednesday, before I left her, she complained of the leg pain and I rubbed her calves and her thighs. She liked that. She knew that I loved her. And I knew, finally, how very much she cared for me.
I’ll probably never know why she pushed me away from her, all through our lives together, maybe because she didn’t know how to show love. At the end, she realized that she was the reason I didn’t come around to visit. She’d say hurtful things and the only way I knew to deal with it, was to just not be around it. During her last weeks, she’d say something, she’d see the look on my face and she’d get upset with herself. “Damn, I did it again, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I do that, it just comes out, then I see your face and it’s too late.”
I wished we’d had a better relationship, but there’s nothing can change that now. At the end, we each knew how much and how deeply the other cared.
She was ready to move on, to end the journey in this life and move on to the next.
I’ll miss her, but she’s out of pain now.
I hope she finds the peace in the afterlife that she never had while she was alive. She deserves it.