I’ve been blessed to see the same therapist for a number of years now. He has helped me through any number of challenging times but none more challenging than the journey I am on now. In our last couple of sessions I have talked about two things that even to say them out loud was difficult: how long will this go on and what will my future look like.
Okay believe me I get it that this sounds incredibly self-centered. I am not the person dying here. So to even entertain thoughts of what I might do or where I might go once this journey is over–plain talk: once L dies–leaves me rife with guilt that is nearly paralyzing. But as “Doc” pointed out this is not about wishing for an end–it’s about figuring out how I will survive once it happens. Having never been a person who lives in the moment I get that. My whole life I have operated on how I will handle whatever challenge may come along–I did that when L first became ill; I did that when it became clear that our activity would be severely limited by his illness and frailty; I did that when I understood that if you get to the path you thought you would take and find the bridge out, then you find another way.
The second area of discussion–how long will this go on (with “this” being the fact of L’s dying) is tougher. I want L here with me as long as possible but I cannot help but think about how long that might be…and more to the point what I will do then. In some ways the two discussions are opposite sides of the same coin I suppose–each involves planning a life w/out L as a part of it and each involves overwhelming feelings of guilt, fear and anxiety.
Here’s the good news: L may be no longer physically here but as Doc pointed out L has been such a factor in my life–more so than anyone else–that the very idea that I will go on w/out him is ludicrous. Through our years together we have shared so much, taught each other so much, been counselor, cheerleader and constant friend for each other and death cannot erase that. In my heart of hearts I know that L will be with me and more to the point he is here now in every way that counts. I just have to stop living so much in the future land of fear and worry and remember to live in the NOW.