My cousin is dying. She has a recurrence of leukemia and chose not to treat it this time.
She’s in hospice today, almost four months after she got the news. She lives 1000 miles away, and I have plans to go see her in three weeks for the event she really wants to attend – her nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. I spoke to her last week and her numbers were still good. We laughed and joked and talked about the serious stuff. We talked about the warm, fuzzy socks I sent her, and how they’re like a hug for your feet. We talked about me staying with her for the Bar Mitzvah (she offered, I declined), and we looked forward to seeing each other again. I was sure there was plenty of time.
I was wrong.
I spoke to her yesterday, and the day before. The warm, vital woman I’ve looked up to since childhood is there one hundred percent. She doesn’t sound sick. She’s lived for many years with Multiple Sclerosis, she’s beaten the cancer once. My heart wants to believe it’s a mistake, but my head knows it isn’t.
We’ve had her for longer than we thought we would. She’s had a rough road physically, but she’s also had many blessings. A wonderful husband, a gorgeous son who is already a man at fourteen, family and friends that adore and admire her.
I’m not going to be there when she dies. I’m not going to be there for her funeral. I’ve decided to go for the celebration of her nephew’s Bar Mitzvah that we’ve all looked so forward to. We’ll celebrate my little cousin becoming a man, and we’ll celebrate the life of my cousin, his aunt, who loved us all.
In the meantime, I hope she’s wearing the warm, fuzzy socks.