What if it was me lying in a hospital bed, staring up at a stark white ceiling; unfamiliar sheets and blankets pretending to comfort me, unfamiliar noises interrupting my sparse thoughts, unfamiliar smells taking me farther from home?
What if it was me and my thoughts were jumbled, but sometimes they weren’t, and I felt alone and misplaced; left behind?
What if it was me relying on strangers for necessities like food, clothing, movement?
What if it was me knowing this wasn’t home but it was all I had, all I could have?
Would I be patient, would I be understanding, would I accept my fate, would I have the where-with-all to be rational?
Would I make the most of my circumstances; would my mind support or even allow it?
Would I know my family, would I be angry?
Would I be sad, frightened, and withdrawn?
Would seconds and minutes and hours seem like one giant glob of time; one long ritual, day after endless day?
Would I be able to say, “I lived a full life and this is just part of life and no one is to blame?”
I want to say yes, but the answer is probably no.
I think I might feel deserted, abandoned, left behind.
Even though it’s not me yet, the reality is, it might be someday, and although it frightens me, when that day comes, I hope I have the where-with-all to know that choices are few and difficult, and this is all part of this thing called living.
Until then, I will try to let those who are traveling that arduous road ahead of me know that I care, even though I am but a mere speck in their giant glob of days.
I will remind them that love crosses the borders of time and space, and the love between us will always keep us connected.
I will not give up on them, take them for granted, lessen their worth.
I will try not to bring my guilt into their space, or sadness, or pity.
I will respect them, honor them, be humble before them.
I will guard my fears, I will be strong for them.
I will share the best of me with them.
I pledge to myself that when the inevitable hard times rear their unlovely heads, when I feel heavy laden, I will seek out an empathetic ear and a strong back to lift me, to reinvigorate me, to be strong again to give the support I know is needed.
If it was me looking up at a stark white ceiling from the confines of a strange bed, I’d want to be caressed by compassionate words and bask in the warm embrace of understanding and respect.
I’d want to know I mattered to someone, that my life is still valuable, and…that I am loved.