A few years back, I remember taking Bill to the mall. We went around to his video game store and to the candy store before grabbing a milk shake at Johnny Rockets, a typical date on my Tuesdays off that semester.
I remember wheeling him into the elevator as we were talking about something funny that happened that day. At which he got quiet and spoke in a random serious tone that I never once heard from him before.
“Mandy, I know I’m going to die when I’m 50.”
Those words struck me hard, like a gunshot to the heart. I changed the subject with him and reassured him he has a great big beautiful life ahead still, and I would try my hardest no matter what to be a part of it.
The age gap between us is almost two decades long. But from looking at him, you would never know. Almost as if he is Benjamin Button or something and ages in reverse. Between that and his mental disabilities, he blends in with a lot of people in my age range, late twenties, early thirties. Sometimes I forget the age gap. Until things become apparent.
He has gotten sick a lot lately, now is on a breathing machine for sleep apnea and requires more personal care than he did ever in his life. The fact that in a few short months, he will be 49, scares the shit out of me.
One more year and he will be that age he is almost certain will die in. And from the outside looking in, given I haven’t kept up with him in forever, he is getting close to it.
His health is getting pretty bad, and now thanks to that, my plans at giving him the trip of a lifetime have failed, now that in addition to him coming down, he needs to save double for his staff. It’s a must. A must I don’t want to have to worry about.
I miss his free gentle spirit and that fight to be stronger than what people say he is. He is to me like Superman, he can’t be broken. But sadly he can.
I know I may be over reacting based on what he told me long ago, but you never know until it’s too late. Every night we Skype each other and cherish whatever moments we have left while we still have them. This trip meant the world to me, but at what cost? For me to stress over his care and his needs before my own?
It honestly sucks seeing him age quicker and I hate to be alive that day when the unavoidable happens. I’m so in a rush to see him, but I can’t. It’s like he’s in prison, or is it me that’s behind bars? Who knows anymore?
I know there are things in life I want to avoid. The fact that this trip being delayed makes it worse. The thought of losing him soon even more.
I made a promise to him years ago that we would be able to pull this trip off. And I want to keep that promise. But how can I when the odds are against me?
I wish time had a pause button so I wouldn’t have to see the ending and could stay in the moment forever and have him here with me.
Please, let his premonition be wrong. Let him stay just a little longer on this earth so I don’t have a deadline over my head.
Let me have the strengh to keep positive while this is going on. And arm me with enough strength to let him go if that’s what God sees fit. Give me the power to keep me going forward and give him the power to continue to shine on. Make his life and mine one worth living. Help us be prepared for whatever life throws at us. For whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Our motto has always been “We’re stuck together like glue.” And no matter what happens, I know we will overcome it all together.
As Bill calls it “It’s just a little snag. We got this.”