I'm Waiting Here, We're Inside Now, Cause You're My Dear, And We've Been Waiting So Long
I broach this subject because two recent stories I've seen, Finding Neverland and Everwood, in a matter of less than 24 hours have both tackled this sensitive subject with a very critical and very satisfying eye. I honestly don't know what I'd do if one of my good friends came up to me and told me that there was a chance she could be dying, but she didn't want to make 100% sure. I don't know if I would think I had the authority to make such decisions for her. After all, isn't it a person's inalienable right to decide for herself what is best for her? And isn't it a person's inherent gift to decide for herself what makes her most happiest? I wouldn't want to take away such a precious commodity away from any one, even if it would make me sad in the process.
I think the best course of action would be to approach the uncertainty and fear connected with the unknown specter of death as if it were nothing more than a coming storm, an approaching wind. We can no more hold back the winds as hold back the onslaught of death. And myself, given the choice of whether I would want to know if I were dying, would probably opt to never know of my condition. I would rather die suddenly, and albeitly painfully, if it meant living my life according to my own rules and my own standards. I don't want to set limits on my life because I know it may aggravate a condition I have. I want to live and die free. I know it may sound pompous and arrogant, but I think I'm above fearing death, at least for right now. I'm above the complexities and the instrospection that fearing death brings with it. I haven't reached that point in my life where the looming scythe of some imaginary reaper is going to dictate what and where I should go. I am incorrigiable and that's how I want to remain.
If one of my friends were to explain to me that she were dying and that she wanted me to help keep her secret from everyone else I think I would be able to maintain that vow. I think I could step up to the challenge and be the kind of friend she needed me to be. Just because it's from a disease doesn't mean I have any say in deciding how she should live her life. I mean--if Jennifer had told me at the beginning of May that she was going to die from some horrible lung ailment I think I could have braved the news. But she didn't. She chose to keep it to herself and I had to find out from her some other of her friends that she was even sick, and fading fast. I think that's why the topic of confidentiality and respecting a friend's wishes rings so true with me. I could have been in that position very easily. I could have been the one that was saddled with this heavy burden, but the person doing the saddling decided I wasn't strong enough to handle the responsibility. And that has always been a point of contention with me. I think I would have been strong enough to handle the news. I think I could have been there for her. It's true we may not have been the closest of friends, but I definitely think I deserved some consideration in being let in on her "secret." I know I sound totally selfish, but I hate thinking she died relatively alone with none of her close friends being told of her condition until it was almost too late. You almost have to tell your family. But with friends it's almost like one last parting gift, allowing them to take care of you.
So, yeah, the idea that somebody could be sick and them not wanting to admit to themselves that they are sick hits a little close to home for me. I have never been in a position to judge what I would do in that situation. But I think I could have been the dutiful guy and made at least one person's last days easier and maybe a bit happier. I just imagine the picture of me sitting beside her bed, holding her hand, reading to her some innocuous little story I wrote. Then I would see her smile and I would know I was there for her. I wouldn't want to be there when she actually died. But even that I think I could have endured rather only being allowed to see her after the fact.
I wanted to be the waiting there for her. I wanted to be the one who she trusted that much. Now I'll never know why she didn't.