Sunday, February 15, 2009


Heavy with love, with guilt, with regret, with happiness.

A male friend is terminally ill. At the hospital a few days ago, I sat all day at the foot of his bed amidst beeping machines and tubing and needles and the detritus of modern medicine. We whispered to each other, gaining mutual comfort by reminding ourselves of our connection through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and careening through careers and marriages. We talked of the good times and the disasters that befell us. We talked about my longstanding marriage and children and his brief trainwreck of a marriage. We talked of significant things and frivolous things. We talked about career worries and how he regrets not taking the path less travelled. As long as I have known him since the age of ten, he had secretly wanted to do something with his innate artistic ability. Instead he became a physician... a healer. Ironic though, a physician who cannot save himself now. We laughed a bit and also cried. We cried a lot actually. He said that he had end of life issues to resolve and I had to know something. He told me that he has been in love with me for years, decades even.

I am left a confused mass of feelings. Rib crushing emotion that does not allow me to process except the basics.

Is regret allowed? My regret for crossed signals in my heady rush to embrace life as a young adult. My regret for not stopping long enough to hear what my gut was saying to me. For not being there when he needed to be understood by me. My regret that he never said out loud what needed to be when the time was right. My regret for thinking that I knew him, when I did not. My regrets for... I am not even sure what the regrets are for anymore.

Wondering with curiousity at what might have been. Is this even allowed?

What is allowed? Now. Today and here as I watch his tenous hold on life becoming weaker; as he deals with unending pain. His death is hastening as he is no longer accepting treatment.

In the most fundamental of ways I never understood him. My best friend but I did not know him. Is regret allowed for not really knowing him?

Is telling the husband about this new knowledge allowed? To what end?

Is guilt allowed for wanting to return the same measure of love while he is still here. But to what end?

However yesterday surrounded by the glow and warmth of friends and family as we enjoyed a celebration valentines dinner... my children by my knee and the husbands arm around my shoulders, I smiled. I was surrounded and carried aloft by so much love, even his. Yes, even his. I will accept the secret burden of his love because because it is his gift to give me. My new secret love. My best friend who I will have to part with soon.

Dense and heavy. His love. His gift to me.


Indyeah said...

don't have words left to write after reading will just say,God bless you and your loved ones and may god bless your friend ...

ugich konitari said...

What is, is. And it remains between you and him and never dies. He is s lucky man to have you there now, and will go away in peace when the time comes. They both enrich you. Be grateful and smile.

pink dogwood said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend.

how he regrets not taking the path less travelled - now here is a lesson for all of us.

Stay Strong!

Enchanted said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. Will pray to God to give you strength to deal with this.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad.. But no one really knows the other person you know, however long they are ur best friend. How much do your friends really know you? Like, the most inner part of you? It's good that you are there for him and I'm sure he knows that :)

Piper .. said...

wow! that was indeed 'heavy' as the title suggests! I wonder what would be an appropriate way for you to respond to him, if there is any. I wonder how difficult it must be for you, to live with this truth..
A very touching post!

gauri said...

That's one of the reasons the heart has more than just one compartment. Some people, some relations, some moments, are meant to be cherished in a unique way. They don't need label. This is something very special that only you two share - and it's going to be a part of you forever. No one can take that away from you.

As for regret, it's certainly allowed, but what purpose will it serve? He sees you happy. You know you're happy. Yes, things could have been different - but it's only in retrospect and imagination that they look rosy. And you'd probably be in even more pain if you were by his bedside when things had, in fact been different.

A touching post. God bless you & yours.


Solilo said...

Heavy. Reading this has left me without words. May god bless you all!

Anonymous said...

My first thought was what good would it do for your dh to know about his feelings about you.
Then I thought why should I hide it?

I dont have any words of wisdom for you, Big hugs.

Rahul Viswanath said...

First time after many days I am out of words ..... Sorry for the same !!

Stay Blessed ...... Take Care Kiran

Renu said...

very touching post. i always believe that whatever happens..happens for the best, god knows about us and what is good for us, better than we. May god bless you all !

neeraj_only said... i know why u wanted to go back to your 11 year old days. ( very sad to know this ). But like always.... life gives us so much and take them away as well.

Heartcrossings said...

Such a bitter-sweet story of old love ! He is lucky that he could tell you how he felt - not everyone can. It is great burden lifted from the heart. I would encourage you to tell him how you feel - I have more than one regret about not saying it when I could and never finding another chance.

L. said...

Made me cry.
And made me resolve to tell a (healthy) male friend what your friend told you.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Thanks. we are all truly blessed to have lived and loved.

So true. What is, is. We deal with it and put one foot in front of the other.

That is truly a lesson for those of us who can make decisions between forks in the road. It is never too late.

Thank you for your prayers.

Yep, we dont really know ourselves sometimes, never mind knowing others.

My heart knows the response, my head isnt there yet.

So true about the heart having infinte capacity to love in different ways. And yes, the head knows that things always look rosy in retrospect. But the heart doesnt want to agree with that always.

Thanks for your prayers.

I dont know the answer to that either... to mention it or not.

Thanks for your prayers.

It ia a comfort sometimes to think that what happens is due to some higher design. Always a mystery. Thanks for your prayers.

11 years old is when we are all happy :)

Welcome to my blog comments. I think he knows. I dont know how to say it.

Welcome to my blog comments. I hope the words came easily for your friend.

L. said...

Thanks -- the words came easily, and were clearly appreciated.

[Unrelated -- Bizarrely, my word verification is "bedneal." Who is Neal?!?!]

kuldip..the illusionist said...

does ur hubby read ur post ???
i hope he dosen't.
I am sure blog is not the best place to tell ur hubby about all that has happened. still admirations for you for having such great understandig..i wish evry women has somethin to learn .
One question i can't help myself askin what would have been your reaction if the person was not counting his last days??
would u still have had regrets for same reasons .. or would the reasons change ??
i dn't know whether i am allowed to get so personel bt ill soon know.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

You have good questions.
About the husband knowing, he and I are both aware that we only shared time onwards from our young adulthood. We do not have a shared history in childhood and adolescence. So what happened and my relationships or lack of them before we met have nothing to do with the bond between the husband and I. He is confident in that and so am I. I think that comes from age and accompanying maturity so that we can both be reasonable and not dream up problems where none exist.

If my friend had not been so close to death I doubt if I would have ever known.

Why do I regret anything, the same reason as each one of us looks back and says, oh if only I had breakfast this morning, I wouldnt eat so much for lunch... because it is human nature to second guess ourselves. When a close friend is involved, the second guessing is just magnified.

My love for and comfort level with my friend never changed after he told me what he did. I was confused at first, but on reflection realised how lucky I was, to have such wonderful men love and care for me, so very much. That includes old boyfriends, the husband and even my friend who passed away. Each one of them is special.

kuldip..the illusionist said...

thanks for givin a thought abt my questions.Bt still i did'nt get a satisfactory answer which i was lookin for .what wd hv been ur reaction? or in tht case any married women's reaction the sympathy which u can now manage wd tht hv been same if the person was still der

Anita said...

Hang in there, Kiran. We are all blessed to have loved...

Neha said...

I am in tears... and I can understand what all must have been going in your mind that day and ever since. You are indeed very lucky to have someone to love you unconditionally. God bless his soul and may God bless you with everlasting love and togetherness with your loved ones.