Well, this was not how we planned it, huh, Edie?
Your breast cancer diagnosis came only a few days after mine, and we sat on the sofa at your place laughing because we were cradling our left arms in identical discomfort. You ran out of Lortab - I had some to spare. The deal was that we would pester each other along until we were both well. I'm almost there; you still had a long way to go.
I wasn't totally delusional. I knew your condition was life-threatening. Of course, I knew. But I had dumb ideas about cancer, I guess. My misperception was that you would finish all of the treatments, and then we would see. Maybe you would be cured (the magic word that doctors never really say to cancer patients); and if the cancer recurred, there would be plenty of time to try again. Or plenty of time to say good-bye.
It didn't really occur to me that anything could happen so quickly. How could you be feeling so great last weekend? (I mean, we were CAMPING, for Pete's sake. Drinking gin and tonics, goofing around with your wig collection.) How can it be that you could wake up in the wee hours of Wednesday with an infection and be dead by Friday morning? It's like Patty said: "I still owe her $6 for the lunch she picked up on Tuesday."
I simply can't hold on to the idea that you're gone. I tell myself over and over. Edie's dead. No more Edie. Get it? No more Edie. I try it on with all different wordings and tones of voice. It skids right off my brain. I don't even cry much. I spent Friday lying on my bed, staring at the wall; the weekend staring straight ahead, waiting to understand. I'm sure it will start to sink in soon. I talked to Mark tonight. He says he's in shock. Maybe that is what I'm feeling - shock?
It isn't fair that I got off so easy and you didn't. I get no enjoyment just now from knowing that I'm getting better, 'cause you're not. And I know what you would say if you were here. "Here she goes again! You're doing it, you know. God, you are SO BAD this way! You over-think everything. You just mind-fuck yourself." One of the things I liked best about you was that you were free of that self consciousness that is such a problem for me. What do they think of me? Will I be judged? Will every one approve? You expected acceptance for who you were, with no varnish and no pretence. You spoke your mind without second thoughts. I never had to wonder what was on YOUR mind, that's for sure!
I'm an atheist, you know. It's very sad to be an atheist when someone dies. There is none of the comfort of believing in an afterlife, or a better place, or reincarnation. There is just a...lack. Deals made and dissolved; and big, ugly holes where you are supposed to be.