My friend and colleague Pat died 2 mornings ago. I had sat with her a week ago, knowing that her body wouldn't last long and that she was already essentially gone. I sat with my hand on her arm and tried to let her know through that touch that I was there, that I loved her, that I was letting go. I hoped she would go gently, despite Dylan Thomas--she had lived for 15 years with cancers of various types, not raging against the dying of the light but focusing on the here and now. Pat didn't want pity or false sympathy, but she did want to be asked how she was--and for the asker to truly want to know. A few folks made assumptions or gave her insensitive pamphlets about hospice, etc., when she was brimming with verve. Pat really lived by telling it like it was, telling jokes to make the stupidity of others funny and to lighten up our lives, and by constantly reminding her friends that we were bright, amazing people and that we couldn't let others get us down, no matter what. And it seemed to me that she made peace within herself about most of the general human craziness during the past year. She used to tell me to write a book about all of the things people did to her, but she stopped blaming them, about the same time that she stopped saying that her tombstone should say things like, "I was a good girl, I was I was" and "It wasn't all my fault!"
Oh Pat, I hope you're laughing, wherever you are!