Have you ever met someone and recognized them at first glance? No, you’ve never met before, at least not in this physical time and place. There is an instant soul connection and you realize you’ve known each other forever. You fall into a relationship that is as comfortable as your favorite jeans and as awe-inspiring as your favorite work of art. That’s how it was when I met Dusty.
Some would call us twin souls. Whatever it was, it was destiny.
Dusty was already gravely ill when we met. In fact, the friend who connected us was reluctant to do so because she didn’t want me to be hurt. Robin was a dental hygienist who saw Dusty in the office and, when she read her long medical chart she told her she had a friend who was looking for answers to similar symptoms. Dusty agreed to talk with me and answer any questions I might have.
“She has advanced Lupus,” Robin said when she called, “and she’s not going to make it. I just don’t want you to develop a relationship knowing she will die. I don’t want you to be hurt.”
“I’ll be okay,” I promised. “Besides, it’s unlikely to be more than a phone call.”
It did take me a couple of days to make that call. One, I have always disliked talking on phones and, two, what if Robin was right? Did I really want to take the chance of developing a friendship I knew would end within a short time? Yet, that still small voice within me kept telling me I needed to do this.
The moment we spoke we both felt as if we’d come home. By the end of that hour long phone call we were finishing each other’s sentences and there was no way we weren’t going to meet in person.
What followed over the next three years of her life changed me at my very core. This was a woman who knew how to live, and how to die. She challenged my belief system and opened up new avenues. I didn’t even realize I was stuck until Dusty pushed me to free myself of my self-limiting beliefs. We discussed everything and we knew all there was to know about one another. It was Dusty who helped me to find the doctor who would discover what was really wrong with me.
Dusty had Lupus, a disease that isn’t necessarily a death sentence today. However, when she first got sick, like me, she went through doctor after doctor who insisted she was either hysterical or just on a mission to aggravate them. By the time they did the right testing there was too much damage and she was placed on high doses of steroids. I was too, at one time, but I was able to get off them and she was not. Our lives were not only intertwined spiritually and emotionally, but also physically. She was eleven years older and had been on the very path I was currently traveling.
There’s a lot more to this story that I need to write, and will write, as time goes on. However, the purpose of this post is simply to introduce you to someone who deserves to live beyond my memories. Yesterday, on May 20, it had been 24 years since she passed. When I talked to her that morning she had said goodbye. She was tired, she was ready and she knew I was strong enough to move on without her. Besides, she wasn’t really leaving, she assured me, merely moving on to a different dimension. She would be watching and waiting for me. At noon she was gone and at that very moment I felt both a sense of release and a strong kick in the stomach.
Yes, Robin, it still hurts. But the pain is so very much worth those few years of love.