Ms. Fab came last week while I did my new MS drug infusions. I didn’t ask, she just volunteered. For a week she drove me back and forth, fed me, made me coffee. She told me, in thought, word and deed that it would be ok. That I was loved. That I was not alone. I could not have managed without her.
I think about dying alone. When my son died. When my mother died. When I chose to not have children. And when I left Owen. I am frightened of dying alone. Given my MS, given my temperament, given all the things about me, people might have wondered if I should have just left things as they were. Stayed married. We were not unhappy – not completely. Things were stable. I would not have died alone.
In truth, I don’t know if I will find someone again. Some days it seems like I will, and sometimes I remain fully convinced that I will die alone. I will have no children, no parents, no family and no lover. I will die in a hospital bed, on the floor of my bathroom, elderly, forgotten. Alone. As sure as my personality, as my drive, is the curse of being alone. Sometimes it seems as if I have been alone, unseen, since the day I was born and my parents forgot about me.
I am, in the language of marketers, a niche. Driven, determined, focused. I know what I want, what I offer and what I am worth. Even in my most frightened moments, I tell myself I would rather die alone than be lonely with someone. I tell myself this. Hold it up, console myself. I tell myself everyone dies alone. It’s a narrow doorway.
I learned something last week, with Ms. Fab, with texts from my friends, with all of you. I will not die alone. All last week I was not alone. Ms. Fab was with me. My friends texted and emailed and checked in. Owen made sure the insurance was settled. The absence of a romantic partner was not felt.
Oh, I will go through the door alone. Just like you will. But before? The life I live up until I cross the threshold? That won’t be alone.