Today, my office is closed so that colleagues can celebrate a long Independence Day holiday. I was up late last night for no good reason. Talked with my brother a while, talked with my mom, and just stayed up and kept staying up, until past one. Not a breathtakingly late hour, I know, but usually I have to have some reason to keep going that long, when I've been up since six a.m.
Today ... I woke up at two p.m.
I can do some very good sleeping indeed, but I don't sleep until two. Even when I'm sick, I get up and deal with the furbabies and deal with myself in some medical way. Oblivion until mid-afternoon is not my thing. I was set back just seeing the clock, and thrown off so much I was pretty much instantly paralyzed. Beyond dressing and, yes, dealing with Gossamer and Penelope (who had never so much as nudged at me, which is odd as well), I spent an hour and a half or so pretty much just gently caroming around my house, unable to effect any action.
Then I took almost a two hour nap.
This week at work has been fine. It was short, very productive. The single relationship I've had at my job that's ever been stressful seems to have come to a good place, unexpectedly. Nothing is looming over me nor upsetting me there.
But this week in life and love and family has been sad. Not hard. Just - I looked in someone's eyes, and saw something there. Beyond sadness and beyond death; desolation.
I've known entirely too many people who have faced death. Not one of them has ever been "dying" - before. Now, I know someone who is dying. And ... in a heartbreaking way, that is actually okay. This isn't suicide, it's not someone who isn't ready. The very readiness for death is something I think we may have been trying to eradicate in recent generations. When almost anyone - at least, I know, in America - is facing extreme age or illness, the only word allowed is FIGHT. Nobody is allowed to be dying anymore.
My own father, stricken with terminal disease, was never a man dying. He LIVED all his life, every bit of it, and that was noble.
Looking into the desolation I saw this week. It is not less noble to acknowledge, and to face without fear that one inevitability life brings for us all. It is not "giving up" in defeat, only relinquishing what has been, I hope, full - and worthwhile. I hope my own part in this life came as a late, but sometimes joyous blessing. I know this life has become so dear to me.
There is a simultaneous urge to see this person die as they wish to - and to hold on, to protect and to keep safe.
Today, maybe I relinquished for a little while. My body said, "SLEEP" - and I slept. My heart said - "SINK" - and I did.
This is self-indulgence, but sometimes to be the best caretaker when the time comes, we all need to remember to allow for that. To make room for it.
And then to make room for death - and all the work and administrivia and emotional support that entails.
It has been a very strange - if minimal - afternoon. But I feel better already.