My dear sister tried many times to talk to me about her impending death. Educated by a lifetime of soap operas I knew the right thing to do was refuse to hear - there would be no negative talk, no sad pauses, no acknowledgement of reality. So every time I visited was like a birthday: I had presents, gossip, music, fun. I would keep on and on until I made her laugh. On her behalf I refused to accept death. It must have been so trying for her.
Because, really, what business of mine was it? She was succumbing to a most terrible cancer, buying precious weeks with aggressive treatments that made the days won too painful to bear. What right had I to censor her attitude?
Of course, I wasn't the only one. the whole family was at it - being positive. Positive of what? Mainly, I think, we were scared stiff. Death had stalked into the middle of our village and was carrying off the fair maiden. And we couldn't do a thing about it.
Finally, when she wanted to get some business done she made me sit down and listen. I was to have a treasured possession of hers after her death - WHICH WOULD BE SOON. No, no, I cried, but at that stage she didn't have the time to waste indulging me. It would be soon and she had things to do in preparation. She arranged her will and her funeral in the kindly and efficient way she had lived her life. As I knelt by her coffin I was still saying 'no', in the selfish and inefficient way I have lived my life. I know she's in Heaven, or going there very soon. I know she forgives me, because she always did. I miss her very much, and I'm so sorry I could not contribute to her happy death.