This week I realized something that I hadn’t previously.
This past Monday, as we sat on the couch, Ronnie asked to me read his post for Top Ten Tuesday; his list of things that made his CF life easier, and specifically, his number one. As he was reading it to me, and got to the final sentence, “and when I have death...” his eyes got watery as he finished the sentence. I pretended not to notice as he looked up at me with teary eyes for my review, and just offered up my praise for his entry. He then had me read point number three in which he wrote about his beloved (that’s me). As I read it out loud, I could feel him watching me. And as I read his words, “I want to be around for her for as long is absolutely possible” tears welled up in my eyes, my voice began to crack and a tearfully made it through the remainder of the sentence, swallowed the lump out of my throat and finished the point. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his eyes glistening more than normal in the computer light, and realized in that moment that he too had tears in his eyes. I set the computer down, looked into his watery eyes as a few tears streamed down both of our faces, and told him it was perfect as I hugged him.
What I realized, as I sat there hugging him in the dark family room, only illuminated by the flickering, muted TV and his words on the computer screen was this: Ronnie is scared to die. I guess it’s silly to think that he wouldn’t be scared, but I think I just assumed that because he had always known it was a possibility and because of his personality/faith that it didn’t phase him. But in that moment I realized that he was scared for those of us he would leave behind. He wasn't afraid to die for him. The thought of death itself was one that didn't phase him. And the thought of going to heaven made him overwhelmingly happy. But he was scared to die for the rest of us, left here on earth. He knew the heartache, devastation and emptiness that it could potentially (and most likely) cause. He has always told me that the only time he gets choked up talking or thinking about CF is when he talks about his family. And it suddenly all made sense. He understands the sacrifices they have made to keep him happy and healthy, gets that they are a big reason he is around today, and I think (in psycho-analyzing him) that he’s scared what will happen, to his loved ones left behind, when he goes.
We did talk about it that night. We just sat there, hugging each other, my eyes tearing and opened to a realization that made my fears seem more rational; valid. It was an interesting moment between the two of us. Maybe because it’s the first time I saw my goofy, carefree best friend cry, or maybe because it’s the first time we shared, together, our fears for me when he was called home. Either way, it’s a moment I will never forget!