Eggs, shots and rock n roll

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Empty eyes

Last Saturday, we helped friends move out. Well, P helped move the furniture, I washed the dishes. For 3 hours straight. Alone.

The friend we helped, Patricia, I have know since I was 7. We were not really friends back then. We were in the same ballet class, but did not really speak to each other. It's only in High school that we became friends. We were at the same bus stop every morning so we started talking, not that much at first, but slowly more and more and we finally became real good friends. I spent a lot of time at her parents' apparment. Every time I needed to breathe, away from my family, to smoke a cigarette without fearing my parents finding out, or simply to talk, I went to see her. And I thought her parents were really cool to let me come and vent at their place.

Her father has always had a fragile health. Liver problems and diabetes run in their family. For years now, she's been telling me "my dad has this and that... I don't think he has much longer to live..." But knowing her sense of drama, I always knew what to take seriously or not. After all, she's been saying he's going to die soon for years and he's still alive. Well, last week, she told me he has liver cancer and it's too late to do anything. I believed her. I immediately felt sad for him and for Patricia and her mom. Knowing people who suffered from liver cancer, I know how fast it can go. He is about my father's age (my dad's 56). That's such a young age to be dying. I cannot bare the thought of losing my dad so soon.

So Saturday, when P and I went to her parents' home to help her move, I saw his father, whom I hadn't seen for a long time. He was so frail, so pale and weak, it broke my heart. He seemed happy to see us and to be able to congratulate us for the baby. But his eyes were empty, his cheeks stretched and his mind seemed miles away. I could feel his deep sadness, his despair and hopelessness. We all felt so useless facing his tragedy. I did not know what to tell him, I did not know how to act. He is about to die. He knows it and it shows. And the feeling that there's absolutely nothing to do is unbearable.

I sat with him on the balcony while others where moving the refrigirator. I felt uneasy, didn't know what to say to a dying man. I made some jokes, small talk, but he did not smile. He just sat there, looking at the sky, looking at the beads falling one by one in his hourglass. There are amost no beads left and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them from falling. It's so frustrating for me, for us, I cannot even imagine what it must be like for him. How can you sit and watch you life slip from your hands and cannot prevent it? How can you go on, for what time you have left, without curling up in a ball and being angry at the universe?

I often asked myself how I would react if I knew I was about to die. But I don't want to know. Meeting the eyes of Patricia's father made me realise I had better things to think about right now. He made me understand how we need to live our life to the fullest. We say it often because it's nice to say, but we never really do it. All the tragic events of the last weeks, all the human drama and pain caused by Katrina, on top of seing this man slowly dying made me really think and grasp how lucky I am to be alive. Not only to be alive, but to be carrying life in my womb. I am so grateful for everything I have. I don't want to reach that time in my life and say "I sould have..." His eyes were telling me "it's too late for me, but not for you!"

Life often sucks. It's often unfair and painful. Life is not always beautiful. But we only have one life to live. Let's live it now.

2 comment(s):

Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie? I just finished it and it deals with this exact issue. Very good book. So sorry for your friend's father.

By Anonymous Jenn, at 7:56 PM  

How utterly humbling.
What beautiful, caring words.
There's such a lesson in this post. A lesson I am not going to ignore.
It's true that this one life is so fragile & precious. Every minute of good health and good fortune should be embraced & treasured. I waste so much youthful energy focusing on the negatives. I am blessed in so many ways & I do not acknowledge the wonderful moments I have everyday nearly enough. When I am at the end of my life I do not want to look back in despair. Or feel regret that I chose not to smile despite the sunshine.
I hope there are more smiles ahead for P's Dad to enjoy. Just a little more peace & comfort to take with him.

By Blogger Mony, at 7:30 AM  

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