One of the perks that accompany “retirement” is the peaceful spending of breakfast alone. It’s just easier to fill up the day’s dance card that way. Of course, my daily strategy will encounter a few road blocks along the way – phone calls, a barrage of text messages from someone who should probably solve his own problems, that package will arrive from Amazon a day earlier than expected… I might even violate the schedule myself, grab my camera and run off to the woods for while. You know, an hour with nature is very therapeutic.

Nevertheless, it’s still early, and already today’s timetable for successful cognitive planning has gone off the reservation as the smell of Taylor Pork Roll appears to be dragging me back to childhood. I am remembering things I regret ever forgetting, and it really is a shame that it takes burning some kind of meat substance to trigger such recollection.

Someone very close to me is very sick. I won’t betray her confidence or sully her dignity by revealing the details, but it begs the question that her days are possibly numbered. Oh sure, she’ll fight, and those of us who adore her will lead every cheer. We’ll hope against hope, pray just one more prayer – yet again, and it will escalate into one of those remarkable examples of the human spirit. She’ll probably beat this. She will be ever triumphant, never giving in to despair or the desolate singularity of hopelessness… She will handle this endeavor with grace and dignity, if we will only find the good sense to allow it, and as she has always done, she will persevere until perseverance succumbs to the inevitable acceptance and the talk of “one more try.” Regardless of the battles, she will win the war simply because she did her best, and since so often her best is enough, hope will linger long with us.

I find myself wondering if I will be able to record her spirit voice one day. I know, it truly does seem opportunistic and a little cold; calculating. It feels inappropriate to entertain such thoughts. After all, it’s not about me or my research or anything other than her! Maybe it is only natural for someone such as I to always be looking for that “in” to the spirit world. Maybe I should be forgiven the indiscretion, for surely there is some kind of absolution for wanting to further the cause. How many of my colleagues would think differently? After all, won’t it help others in the long run? I might be able to ease the mind of another who finds himself in these same particularly heavy shoes. Maybe I can provide some needed comfort.

But it won’t be about that, will it? It will be about one more time, won’t it? About telling her I love her yet again, because there can never be too many of those. It will be about saying things I should have said when I had the chance, or reinforcing her fruitful life; the way she always made others rethink; her ability to make us all so proud. Now, there are always things to say, but it will not be so when she leaves, and a part of me will always be consumed with the absolute conviction that it should have been me.

By now, I am more than certain there is an afterlife. I know it with every cell in my body. You can argue the point if you like, it won’t matter, because I have heard the afterlife, and it is not an empty place. I’ve listened to so many thousands of voices from that place – such purity of emotion… I’ve heard humanity being human from somewhere out there, beyond an impenetrable barrier of some kind, from as far away as imaginable, and yet possibly, from right beside me.

There’s a scientist I once heard speak, and I have forgotten everything about him except that he believes in the afterlife. He believes we do indeed exceed our bodies; that we all live in the minds of others; that a piece of our energy is absorbed by those who love us and would hold the memory of us close enough to do that. He believes that those who love us consume everything we are, and hold that energy within. And I do not totally agree with him for a number of reasons, but I have come to like his theory. I am content thinking she will remain in my mind – literally. That small piece of her – my allotment, if you will, fills me up with her essence even now. I will rejoice when his theory is proven, even with the risk of negating what has become my own life’s work, because the knowledge of having her so close is so spectacular.

I’m certain I will write more as time progresses – more eloquently, I hope; more expressively. But for now, I am enjoying this solitary breakfast with Taylor Pork Roll and thoughts of her. Viva la pig! It takes me back to my childhood, when I was not so alone.


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