Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#SOL17: Hard Work

What I Meant To Say (M.A. Reilly, 5.1.2017)

Dying is such hard work, as is bearing witness and living afterwards. Before Rob's death living was not a burden, was not work.

In the weeks before death, Rob became less and less earthbound, so often staring beyond the here and now at what I did not know, could not name. We, who had been so connected across the decades, so much in one another's pocket, were no more. My husband would forget both home and name as agitation and restlessness gave way to more and more sleep.  In the days leading to death, only sharp pain would cause him to yell my name aloud. Mary Ann! The first time it happened I didn't realize he had even called my name after not saying it or any other name for days. It wasn't until my older brother pointed it out that I realized some part of Rob could still retrieve my name.

Against these dramatic changes was the knowledge that a handful of months earlier we were planning a holiday in Maine, untouched by the diagnosis of cancer and the failure of doctors and hospitals whose carelessness would alter our lives forever.

60 is too young to die.
17 is too young to be fatherless.
56 is too young to be a widow.



16 comments:

  1. This is beautiful and haunting. I feel your loss acutely through the brevity of your words and the hard truths they reveal. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  2. I think your "dying is such hard work" refers to Rob, but it is also hard work for you and your son, too, to labor in those final days to give comfort at the same time you need it, too. Indeed, hard. Truth in this writing, Mary Ann. Thank you.

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    1. It was hard work and as we move on, new challenges arise and joys too.

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  3. What I Meant to Say is a haunting reminder of what could have been. I am with you in thoughts and prayers, Mary Ann.

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  4. It is though you are telling my story so eloquent that the sorrow for both of us and our children sticks in my throat. Aching. I am reading Option B after finishing Siros' The Short Course in Happiness After Loss (not sure if this is the exact title)......Love from Maine

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    1. I am reading both on your recommendation. Just heard an interview with the authors of Option B on Krista Tippett's On Being show. Provocative.

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  5. Lines like this, "We, who had been so connected across the decades, so much in one another's pocket, were no more," begin to approximate the wrenching contrast of your loss. I admire your creativity under duress.

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    1. We were in one another's pockets for so many reasons. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  6. I believe that bearing witness is harder, because of the challenge of continuing on... But you are, through your work, through your art, and through your son. Brave work, Mary Ann.

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    1. It is brave work and et what other options exist?

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  7. Oh, Mary Ann, for those who love much, "bearing witness and living afterwards" is indeed hard work. Hugs.

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