Husband's sister Maryanne is slipping away quickly so life feels unsteady. It's as if we're standing on the upper deck of a ship desperately clinging to ropes to keep from being tossed overboard and watching long dark waves roll towards us. There's no way to avoid what's coming. The best we can hope for is to survive the storm, knowing nothing will ever be the same.
This past weekend, we began preparing for Christmas. Maryanne has always loved Christmas so we want to honour her by making the best of it, difficult as that will be. We didn't decorate a tree because we don't know where we'll be for the holidays, but we unpacked an assortment of ornaments, listened to Christmas music and drank our first glasses of eggnog.
I also went for a long, slow run up the river on Sunday, and spent the time remembering all the adventures we've shared with Maryanne and her partner Dick over the years - hiking, snowshoeing, bird-watching and canoeing. Their enthusiasm for the outdoors is infectious. A visit with Maryanne and Dick always involved plenty of fresh air and exercise, not to mention fabulous food, wine and conversation.
Tonight, as I sit by the fire writing this, it seems surreal that, just a few months ago, the four of us sat on Maryanne and Dick's back deck savouring a warm summer's night, sipping wine and talking of future adventures together, blissfully unaware of the sad, dark days ahead. How can so much have changed so quickly?
I comfort myself by remembering something my friend Annette told me shortly before she died of breast cancer. She said she believed death would feel like stepping outside into a cool, clear, starlit night after being stuck too long in a hot, smokey room. I hope she was right about that. Given everything Maryanne's been through, death should feel worth dying for.
With "real life" taking up so much of my time and attention at the moment, I don't plan to write much in the next few weeks. Hopefully, by the time January rolls around I'll feel ready to pick up a pen again.
Until then, happy running and writing, friends.