Over the last six months, Kim and I developed a ritual. Whenever I would get home, whether from work or a night with friends or a date, I would run up the stairs to her room and tap on her door with my fingernails. If she was awake, she’d invite me in. I’d jump up onto her bed, on my stomach, and curl up next to her. We’d talk about our days, our dates, work, life, cancer, boys, whatever. Just the two of us, snuggled up on her bed, tired and happy. At the end of our conversation, I’d crawl up next to her, kiss her forehead three times, and then pad off to my own room, my own bed.
I came home today after a couple days away housesitting. I climbed the stairs slowly. Her door was closed, but this time I didn’t knock. I stood there for a minute, my forehead against her door, gathering my emotions. I opened her door and climbed up onto her bed. I curled up on her pillows, my hand where hers used to be, and cried.
Kim died yesterday.
I don’t really have a lot of words about this right now. I want to tell you how we got to say goodbye to each other. I want to tell you what was said but I just can’t face it yet.
So I’ll tell you how much I love her. I’ll tell you that I’m relieved I got to say goodbye. How I know she’s at peace. How glad I am her pain is over. How heartbroken I am. How much I miss her already.
I kissed her forehead three times. I said goodbye. Some people don’t even get that much.
I am so lucky to have known her. No matter how much I hurt right now, I am better because of what she and I experienced together.