I don’t know what’s worst… death or the process of dying.

It looks like my cousin is losing her battle with cancer.  It’s hard for me to digest as it not only cuts too close to home but it is my first real experience with someone succumbing to the disease in front of my very eyes.  I think I’ve been in denial about her.  She’s always been vivacious and beautiful.  The cool older sister.  I’ve never met anyone who died from cancer.  My sister survived.  My dad survived.  She was suppose to survive.

Throughout her battle, I’ve seen her here and there.  She always looked like herself and acted like herself even through the pain, heartache, and anger. When I saw her yesterday, I didn’t recognize her.  No, she was unrecognizable.  Taken by the cancer.  Eaten by the anorexia.  I only realized it was her when the sweetness of her voice sounded familiar to me. I was taken aback to say the least. But no tears.  No feelings.  And I didn’t understand it as I am an emotional person these days.

I hold a wall up.  I answer questions for my uncle the best I can.  I don’t let myself get emotionally connected.  I think it’s because I’m scared.  Not of death.  But that she’s a mom to a young 5 year old girl.  I think I block out sympathizing with her for the profound sadness she must feel leaving that beautiful little girl.  Wondering if her daughter will ever know what her mom went through to have that little, precious being come into her life and into this world.  How brave her mom has been for that little girl.  How hard her mom fought in this battle to stay alive for that little girl.  Will that little girl know?  I know these were and are still questions I ask daily in regards to my relationship with my daughter.  The difference is I’m here to tell her.  That’s the part that gets me and that’s the part I try to block out.

I see my uncle and his want for his little girl to be physically available.  To remain on this earth.  It was truly a difficult conversation for me to have with him.  To tell him to let her be comfortable.  To let her decide what she wants. And yet, to start preparing to let her go peacefully.

Death.  It’s finite.  The dying part is not.  I think it’s such a drawn out process of unanswered questions and of the unknown.  The part of death I think that is scary… is leaving behind the people you love.  Not being able to be here to reassure them that you are ok and at peace.  And wondering if they are holding up.  My girlfriend said if she died leaving behind her children she would die with her eyes open because she wouldn’t be at peace leaving behind her precious loves.  I fear that for my cousin as well.  That although her body may be at peace when she leaves this earth…her mind, heart, and soul may not be.  And that’s the saddest thing to me, because when she or anyone goes… I want them to go fully at peace and without fear.

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