HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE WAITING FOR MORE TEST RESULTS FOR THE SUSPICIOUS SHADOW ON YOUR HUSBAND’S CHEST X-RAY:
You give money to homeless people who say they want food.
You stick around to talk to them when they seem lonely.
You allow those drivers in traffic who are in such a rush to cut in ahead of you.
You admit it’s not death that makes you shrivel into yourself and brings up those old whimpering voices pleading for safety; it’s dread of that conversation, of giving permission to one’s life partner to take that journey alone, without you.
The mention of Milano on someone’s Facebook travel posting reminds you when you and your husband also flew into Milano. You remember the hundreds of steps you climbed to your room in Cinque Terre overlooking the Ligurian Sea. You recall all the ferries you rode back and forth across Lake Como—you, who fear boats—on glassy, tranquil water every day, people-watching, dreaming. The little wine cave at the bottom of Bellagio’s stairs; the gelato and the Internet café at the top; and the endless view. You are happy.
You notice what you’re taking time to do as you contemplate death: To slow down. To uncharacteristically stop for the homeless. To allow the life around you to proceed. It’s not about you, after all. To savor.
The test results are benign, “unremarkable.” When they are known, it is that you’ve found your way to daily appreciation that you treasure.
Gratitude has taken over your days.