The famous poem by e e cummings speaks of a love for his darling. The love that I feel for my family and friends is not of that nature.
Nonetheless, I carry their hearts with me in my heart.
Every night I take a box out of a small cubby. I run my finger along its surface. I read the message on it before opening the lid. From it, I take a half-dozen bottles and in turn, from those bottles, I take 6 or 7 pills which sustain the functioning of my body which, as we all know, I have pushed well beyond its expiration date.
I pour cold water into a crystal glass and drink to wash down the life-sustaining medication. Then I put the box back into its cubby. I stand for a few moments thinking of the sister who gave me that box. I reflect on everything that I have received from those whose hearts I keep within mine.
I reach to turn the light out and I crawl in bed. I wait for sleep to bring me whatever measure of rest I can garner. Regardless of how I feel in the morning, I will go about my day with a smile, a glow, and the certain knowledge that I am loved.
I read something the other day which resonated with me. It went like this: “If they do not mind your absence, then they did not value your presence.” I recognize the truth of that assertion. But I dwell instead on its converse. That is to say, those who protest your absence, valued your presence. I am missed enough to understand that the people who regret not seeing me are the people who enjoyed my company when they shared it. As for those who clearly can live without me, I shall allow them to do so.
It is the 24th day of the 58th month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.