My oldest (longest to stick around) friend has watched her father die for the past six years.
He has been in Hospice since August. Today begins "final stages." He has days or weeks to live.
I don't think there's anything else to say. You can build an empathetic vision for what that looks and feels like, right?
Besides, it's not my story. His aren't my details to share. Her story is one I hope to never know more closely than from the prayers and emails and texts we've exchanged. It's a story I hope no one ever has to know.
I met a friend for lunch today, after a morning spent crying softly for her, for him, for mortality. My friend ordered me tequila, let me talk for fewer minutes about it than I thought I needed, and then said:
"Did her father make you laugh?"
God, yes! And he made my friend laugh, and he made her mother laugh, and he made all of our friends laugh. He was incredibly good-humored.
I started thinking of weekends in high school spent in her kitchen, her dad reading the newspaper while she and I pretended to know how to make pancakes. I started thinking of all the laughter that kitchen held.
Which, of course, was Ed's point:
Remember the times when you laughed.
Remember when things were good
when you and your friend didn't know how to measure dry vs. wet goods
when we worried about acne and boys instead of wrinkles, acne, and boys
when we felt completely loved and safe and warm
when we knew nothing about prostates.
I have been to a friend's parent's funeral every year since 2008. In 2010, one of my favorite friends was putting off writing his mother's eulogy (because of course), and his other friends and I suggested he write about the times she made him laugh. The jokes, the teasing. No one wanted to cry any more.
His eulogy was perfect. His dry wit echoed throughout a chapel full of people who had loved his mother, who had their own stories of laughter, who wept when he broke down but who laughed honestly when he cracked his gorgeous, crooked smile.
Parents do the best job when they teach us how to laugh and how to love. That is the legacy we remember and for which are most appreciative.
So. Remember the times we laughed, and know that we will again, sometime soon.