17 years ago today, I lost my best friend. It was not unexpected...she was ill for almost 2 years with cancer. It had begun in her colon and metastasized from there when doctors did not immediately remove her colon. They were hesitant to remove it since she was so young, though she eventually had to have a colostomy and she died anyway. Anne was in her early thirties when she passed away, much, much too young. 4 months married, she was buried in her wedding dress--I think she was pleased with the effect it would have and, always clothes conscious, she knew she looked fantastic in it. Anne was very dramatic...she planned every detail of her funeral down to the songs that would be played and how her friends would grieve over her casket while we were getting ready to leave the cemetery...humming a little ditty we used to sing in our college days. Yeah, she loved her drama. It was all pretty exciting--and she lost weight!! Yes, her words...I didn't see the colon cancer diet gaining popularity until they could do something about the edema, or "that funky old edema" as Anne called it...ahh, good times. Up until the day she lost her ability to tell us how she felt. That night she laid down, after being carried to her bedroom, and never got up. She realized that afternoon that she could no longer communicate with us. Anne was very verbal...and if she couldn't use that way of communicating, she could write. That was almost better because then she would leave us a visual and lasting message. The day she could no longer write, she knew. This wasn't a drama, where she gets up, slim and beautiful...newly wed and lives happily ever after. A beautiful heroine in a story made just for her. Finally silent, Anne gave up. She cried silent tears all afternoon and then went to sleep. She woke up only intermittently after that and passed away the next evening. I am glad she only had to live in her silent world for little more than a few hours. I pray that when she woke up, she was in Jesus' arms and her pain was gone. That she got to tell everyone what an ordeal dying was but she was glad to be there...and that really is happily ever after.
When Anne could no longer express herself, she lost her will to live. I remember a show, few years back (ok, maybe more than a few, but its my turn to talk!!) about some talking dinosaurs...one was a baby and very obnoxious. I realized when watching that show I could never eat an animal if it could talk to me. Really, and I'm pretty sure I could talk any animal out of eating me if given half a chance. It just seems so uncivilized. If the bird I was fixin' to prepare for dinner said, "um, its cold in here...could I have a blanket while I wait?" all interest in dinner would cease. I imagine that he would be thinking that, but I can block that out as long as I don't understand what he is feeling. So does the ability to talk make us human? Is a voice we understand enough to make us relate to someone as an equal being? I wonder what the babies would say if they could talk to us from the womb? What if, when we did a sonogram, we could hear the baby say, "mom, eat your vegetables...I am feeling a bit weak down here." It worked for Bella and Edward. Edward believed in his baby and did everything he could to save her as soon as she spoke up and told him that she loved him. And she loved her mommy. Before that he only viewed her as a beast...something trying to kill his wife. Life lessons from Twilight and the vampires...whatever works. I love a good visual. Something else I got from Anne.
Anne Boland Cushner
Daughter, Wife, Friend...Hair Brush Singer Extraordinaire
Gone, but Never Forgotten