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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Bitter Protection

I said my goodbyes to Craig yesterday. Today is his birthday. I won't be there to celebrate his life or to mourn his pending death. I asked him to stick around until my birthday Friday, but as he was slipping away into a near-death world, I got no reply, no promises. We shared a very special communication since vocalizing was too difficult. He hummed tunes to me and I understood. I've always understood his tunes. It's something others can't understand or respect.

His wishes for me to be with him until the end were denied. I was something too ugly for the family to take. I am perceived as the 'other woman'. Best Friends. It matters not that we were together at the seeming acceptance of his wife. It matters not that the past three years he's been fighting cancer were also the happiest most productive and creative years of his life. It matters to no one but myself that those accomplishments were because of my support as he often told me. I was asked to leave his house because appearances of something non-conventional were too painful for others to handle. Banished.

A few months ago I tried to break with him, fearing just this scenario and attempting to shelter myself. It was devastating. I told him I would always protect what we had. If I had continued with the break that protection would have been lost. I couldn't do it.

The acceptance and non-judgemental nature of a wonderful man were something he developed throughout his life. He worked at it and it was one of the most beautiful things about him. He tried to understand others feelings and felt deeply himself.

Yes, I'm hurting. Yes, I've subjected myself to physical, emotional and financial debt while caring for him. Yes, I was cast away like a weed in the end by his family. Grief is bittersweet. Not being accepted hurts like hell. In the end neither one of us could protect what we had. He lies in bed helpless and I have to respect the family's wishes even though they are denying his wishes.

UPDATE: I want to say that not all of Craig's family was aware of what happened, as I'm finding out, but, for those who stood by, listened and watched while these words were said to me;
" (dramatic sigh)....this is aren't welcome here, you don't belong, you're upsetting Cathy. Please leave for my sisters sake",

to those who watched in silence while I said my goodbyes, I can only say I am still completely dumbfounded. I will never forget those words.

I want to thank Craig's brother John, from my heart, and on Craig's behalf, for respecting all of Craig's final wishes. I think he may be another who, like Craig, listens from the heart and not with some selfish whim.
posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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