Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
We did know one another pretty well before we were parted by death. We had made telling our stories and conveying our thoughts a priority over the years of our marriage. But, those "infinite distances" continued to exist, and maybe even to grow, as Tal's illness progressed.
Truth be known, we were each of us locked in our own worlds. I was increasingly tired and scared. Tal was more and more quiet, part of that being a feature of the disease, but only part. He couldn't know the depth of my anticipatory grief. I could not possibly know the landscape of his inner world as ALS stole away, one by one, his physical abilities. He did not talk about what it felt like to be preparing for death.
There was so much we simply couldn't know of the inner workings of each other's hearts. But, we were together nearly 24-hours a day. His care was my task and my joy. He never failed to say thank you. Side-by-side we faced the days and the nights, the questions and the answers we didn't want to acknowledge. Side-by-said we lived our long goodbye.
In the end, though, we did what we had to do. Each of us. Alone.
I shall always love Tal LeGrand, even -- maybe especially -- all that remains unknown.