They didn’t understand us; two women connected to a one man. Enemies? I don’t understand that paradigm. Relationships shift, they don’t have to end.
We could have hated each other. We each had what the other missed. You slept alone. I lay with your former partner. I know it is hard to lie in bed all day next to one’s own skin. How easy my life could have seemed to you. I get to live. I get to love. It wasn’t an easy journey. You knew that.
The world swirled around us differently. Surrounded by friends, your illness killed you. Mine sent me into exile. You visited me when no one else would, told me I understood you when no one else did.
Women talk of trees, sick women; the trees outside our windows. Mine was a pomegranate; red and fertile (in the new house, with Andy, I look out on a wall. My landlord put a potted fern and bold rocks to ease my view.) Yours was a jacaranda; brazen and purple. They keep us company, measure time, each drop of a leaf, the change of seasons, the emergence of bud and fruit.
Illness is a tiny prison in a gilded cage.
They say you were a wild woman. I never knew you that way. Ours was a time of bedside conversation, commiseration, hope and fear.
I miss the lunches we didn’t have, shopping, anti-war marches, civil disobedience, workshops, really hanging out; without bedpans, oxygen machines, wheelchairs (though a race might have been fun.)
How do wild women carry on, strapped down to beds?
Who are we when illness changes everything?
How can we embrace the brokenness, letting it become something else; a greater wisdom, a different way of life?
Your life is over. Mine is broken. – Just starting to come together when you breathed your last. You had been so worried about me.
Our final coherent talk I told you I was moving past the pain, putting “them” behind me.
I miss you. There is so much I want to tell you. I write alone in the night and cry: poets hours. Losing you is a new void, a different emptiness; more of what could have been, then what was.
There is great energy around your death. So many people loved you, and there’s so much work to do to put things in order; they tell me you weren’t good with that.
You ethereal one; mystic, Christian, deepest sister.
It is so hard to pay homage to those false gods imposed upon us (bills and debt.) What strange constructs. Would that our will alone could be enough to scaffold the transformation.
We are just two sick women. What we created was much smaller; a conundrum for those who do not understand what really binds each to the other.
I wanted so much more for you: health, love, sex, communion, and time, more time; Time to read the books we gave you. (That we could each live long enough to read all the books that line our shelves.)
There is a space you still occupy. It cannot be filled. You haven’t left yet. I can still feel you near, hovering somewhere among us; the living, in the ether of possibilities, in the firmament of hope.
All my love,