I received word from Kristin's sons today that she is no longer able to stand or walk on her own and that she has stopped eating.
Kristin, who I met when I was 11 and have admired and adored since, is as close to a sister as I'll ever have, and in spite of spending some amazingly wonderful moments, hours and days with her when she came to Seattle from the Bay Area for treatment over the past four years, I feel that I must now go to her, hold her and tell her how much I love her.
But how can I get to her? I could travel in a wheelchair, right? And if I could get to her, will she know? And will it matter? Or should we hold onto what we shared in the past? To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I could handle seeing the one person who is the most FULL OF LIFE of anyone I've ever known to be slipping from life.
I'm waiting to hear from her sons again. If she's aware enough to state a preference and if she wants me by her side, I will drop everything to be with her, just as I have done since her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in October, 2004. If she's already in that space between this world and whatever is to follow (and as atheistic as I am, my mother's death convinced me that there's something -- something -- there), then I will leave her be, comforted by the knowledge that she knows how much I love her and how profoundly she has touched my life.
I'm so torn right now, and so incredibly sad.
*I don't know why, but this photo that I took on Maui two years ago just seems to say it all.