I don't know how to tell you goodbye. I know you're dying. I know this is the end. I wish I didn't have to face that. Susan is right, I'm in denial. Sometimes I wonder what you must be feeling, how agonizing it must be to have thoughts but no way to communicate them. I know that all you want is for things to be right. You are a perfectionist. I take after you in that way. You are unbreakable and I could only hope to have inherited that too. I watch your empathy and cannot help but wish I could take a piece of it for myself. Lately, people have been showering me with compliments for my empathy. I think they are wrong. I also think you know that and I'm sorry. Sometimes, I come to visit because it makes everything in my life seem calmer. You lie broken while I am free to work towards progress. I am sorry.
I can't remember before you were like this. I remember the stories. And every once in a while I recall a moment you and I shared. But they are only clips from a much longer film. I remember standing at the head of your kitchen table in Connecticut. You helped me recite the hamotzi. I was wearing a denim dress and a pink t-shirt. You were wearing a denim dress with white washed flowers on it. The only other thing I remember from that trip is sitting in a dark theater, alone with our family. You were holding my hand. Once, you bought me a whistle at the Saturday Market. I never told you that I lost it the next weekend at the park. I remember you walking off the plane when I was very little. Your hugs were always warm. Now, you can't even move your arms. You always seemed poetic, though I don't know if you ever wrote a poem. You had lots of boyfriends. They were never good enough. No one could ever be good enough for you. I understand.
This weekend you told us that I knew why you wanted to die. I do know. I'm just like you. I could not live without a voice. We live in our thoughts and feast on sharing them with others. If you can not speak, how can you live? You were never meant for a sedentary existence. Who is? You also know that when G-d looks at the good things you've done, they will outweigh the bad. You won't have much to purge. And maybe sooner rather than later, you'll roll to Jerusalem and we'll all be together again. Maybe. I guess we can cross our fingers and hope...well I'll cross my fingers. I know you can't really cross yours.
I hope you know that I love you, even if I can't remember. Even if I don't know how to tell you. I'm sorry that I can't save you. One day you'll have an answer. Or I will. I don't think I'll know how much I'll miss you till you're gone, but I know it will be almost unbearable. Maybe somehow you'll find these thoughts, maybe they'll come to you in a dream. Who knows. May Adonai be gentle with you.
In life, in death...
Your loving great-niece,