Those three images usually close out a thought of mine on Facebook … in the order they appear. “M” for microphone, “P” is certainly obvious, and “H” … well, of course, right?

Miles Per Hour is more appropriate, however. Facebook musings aside, life the past month or so has seen a different application of MPH along a single-focus highway of missed exit ramps. Turn-offs I willingly didn’t take, in order to help care for someone who is dying, can wait until I circle back around later. Sure, there have been – and will be – some chances to exit and do necessary things; overall, though, life has been moving rapidly. For me.

Not so rapidly for sweet Greta who is dying. This is an ending we knew was coming – it just will come sooner than expected.

She is the vocalist, I am the pianist, and our hearts make wonderful music together.

This evening, I have quiet moments to watch her sit on a very familiar tan recliner five feet from me. The room is small. She’s protected by many books and miniature owls resting on two bookcases behind her. Surprisingly, she has some energy left in her body to look over my way at times. This day has been a busy one with friends and family buzzing about her already tired soul.

I don’t know from where her drive and determination comes. These are traits I find fascinating as her days linger on through pain management, sleep deprivation, and a determination to soak up every available blink on the clock. A wonderful, full, young life experience coming to an end is slowing her time down to a breathable crawl. Every second counts.

Last hugs from an only brother this morning forced time to stop. As a niece and nephew said good-bye, the early morning sun stopped to cry just a little and its tears were seen as dew on the grass in the rear view mirror on their hearts. Driving away slowly – with a 7 hour’s drive ahead – had to be the most difficult beginning of a trip … and ending … a family ever had to endure.

This afternoon, many friends stopped by for a rather nice patio visit with Ms. Greta. Pictures were perused, memories visited, and conversations had. She laughed heartily through a veiled smile – one that is barely half of what was once full-voiced and warmly engaging. Eyes beautifully sparkling, however, and no less attentive to everyone sharing some Sunday time with her.

Time well spent today. Exhausting for her, of course. She is the Captainess of this Cancership, I’ve always said, and when a post of today’s 11-4 plan was discovered (by me) on her Facebook feed last night at 9p.m., I was surprised, but not startled.

An exit ramp I may have missed last night, but sure as tooting would have backed up and taken at 11 a.m. today once folks started coming.

There is an ending. Just not today. I am moving at a certain MPH on a single-focus road for now.

That’s only one side of this story. The other side is pretty easy to explain. I am doing what I am doing on this road because of the Microphone, Piano, and Hearts.

Greta is a special woman. She connects with me. Musically, as a pianist, I’ve accompanied no vocalist in my career who has moved me to tears. Her depth, passion, and commitment to excellence pushed me beyond my 50 years experience behind a keyboard.

We had fun together apart from music. Loving life together. Eating out, working at my concession business, sitting around the local parks, watching game shows, etc …

Thinking we had more time together is where we are right now. Time is slowing down for her, yet fast for me. Endings are never easy.

Since they aren’t easy, let me finish by inserting a paragraph posted on Facebook by my friend Rick. He came by today. His words will be mine until we meet again. Hug a loved one today. 🎙️🎹💕

“(Landslide) is a very special song as of this moment. I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Greta today and this is one of her favorite songs. I visited her on her patio with other friends, her Mom, and others there. Today, this very special woman decided she was not going to die today. She was determined to welcome friends for a last visit, a goodbye. My friend is soon to be lost to cancer, but she knows it, has thought about it, accepted it. A very strong, charming, witty, and talented woman with a heart as beautiful as a sunrise on a beach. If this is farewell, I am a better person for have having her in my life if only for a short while.”

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