|Birds Lifting (M.A. Reilly, 2010)|
Family and friends surround my husband. It's his first day in palliative care and one friend has brought music. I'm given Mardi Gras beads to wear and do so. Think cocktail party without the booze. Clusters gather and chat, shift, chat again. Chairs from other rooms are procured. People move in and out of the room and I too am caught up in a lengthy conversation when I notice the loud quiet that surrounds Rob, who is reclined in the bed at the center of the room.
He's already leaving. A foot here and the other somewhere else.
I study him, this man who knows some secret of immense value that the rest of us cannot discern. He's my best friend, lover, confidante, husband, father of our child, business partner, co-writer, holder of my future plans. We were supposed to retire. We were supposed to travel the world.
A few hours after we learned that the cancer had metastasized to his liver, spleen, ribs, and sternum and that he was too weak to receive opdivo, I lean across him, sobbing--confessing that I do not know how to face a future without him. He answers immediately.
"Live brilliantly," he tells me. "Don't you dare hide yourself. Don't you do that. Live brilliantly."