The Intimacy Reached Through Illness + Death

Mar 12, 2024

When you’ve walked your partner through illness + death, you develop a level of intimacy that exceeds anything else including sex + the birth of a baby.

Now you look at the couples around you, knowing that you and your person reached a different level of closeness.

It feels so deeply + painfully ironic, because while they still have each other, you are now on your own.

Nobody with an alive partner could get it. ⁣

The level of intimacy that is built when you you walk your person to the ends of the earth, and come back on your own.⁣

I have a memory with Brian, when he was in so much pain that he could barely move. I was pushing him around the hospital in a wheelchair and there was a moment of stillness. We were alone in an elevator and he turned to me. Our eyes locked, as they so often did, especially near the end. ⁣

“How do people do this who don’t have a Mira?” he asked me. ⁣

The world froze, just like it did the moment we met, locking eyes across a crowded dance floor, my life opening up in front me in one, tiny, huge instant. ⁣

And then, “ding”, the elevator doors opened and the bright lights + sounds of the hospital enveloped us again, time moved onwards. ⁣

Dying is an experience that is truly inexplainable. And we did it as a team. Our closeness reaching new heights, impossible for other couples to understand. ⁣

Afterwards there was so much to process, to talk about. Except that he was no longer here. ⁣

In the early days, I’d often look around at couples I knew, just thinking, wow, they don’t know each other the way that we do.

And how brutally unfair - that they get to grow old together. They get the mundane day-to-day, the bedtime cuddles, the anniversaries, the listening ear. They get years + years in physical life that we have lost. ⁣

I still struggle to find the words for how ironically unfair this part of the widowhood experience feels.

And yet, it has created a deep well of knowing within me. A sense for the “beyond”, because I walked the love of my life there. ⁣And a strand of me stayed, because that is where he now resides. ⁣

I love that + I hate that. ⁣It is my superpower + my pain. ⁣

Both, and. ⁣

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