Our friend Stuart is dying. This became apparant when we visited him in the hospital on Wednesday. Stuart has been battling a particularly aggressive form of lymphoma for some time and often gets a more anonymous mention here as ‘The Lymphoma Warrior’.
He was heavily sedated when we went in and obviously labouring just to keep existing. His breathing was strained, his body was swollen and bruised and his closed eyes seemed enormous in his face. I’m not sure if he knew we were there or not. Part of me became very maternal –he looked a little like a giant baby- while another part of me could hear Mia Farrow screaming ‘This is not a dream! This is really happening!’ (a line from Rosemarys Baby) at the back of my skull. I know he would appreciate the Polanski reference…
When I spoke to his sister yesterday she felt there wasn’t long to go and welcomed us to come back to spend more time with him but it is too hard for Matt and I decided I would rather let the family be together without my intrusion at the end.
Matt has mentally prepared to deal with the possibility we may lose him ever since he was diagnosed but I always blithely thought he would go into remission. While he is a dark little soul with a healthy appreciation of the shadowy and the macabre, he has been so positive about his treatment, his illness and his intention to get well. This is why it was so right for me to spend some time with him: to understand that it IS really happening, but hard for Matt, who just wants to remember his good friend as happy and well.
I’ve not yet heard any news today but it is now inevitiable that the cancer is too strong and we won’t get him back. We are just waiting to hear news that it is over for him.
His downward turn feels very sudden for us. We thought he was winning.