One word I never used, because it was just too hokey, was “angel.”
Yes, I used “sweet pea” with perfect ease, but couldn’t bring myself to call anyone “angel” with a straight face.
What can I say? We all have our limits, however idiosyncratic.
I thought, What an overused, overfluffy, overly silly word to use about someone who is decidedly human — as everyone I’ve met so far is.
Then I went through the Years from Hell, a period of about 3 years I try not to even think about because it was so bloody harrowing it’s unbearable to remember, and there’s nothing to be done now to change that.
One set of surprises were some of the people who I was sure would come through, but fell from view when their actions were supposed to match their words.
Many people who seem awfully nice are more socially adept than genuinely good. It’s an important distinction.
Starting late 2011, I found myself using the word “angel” as an endearment for a very particular set of people. It came naturally to my mouth as a substitute for “sweetie” or “sweet pea” when speaking to those who showed up when the going became almost impossible,
who never gave up on me despite good reason to do so,
and who showed up for me through thick and thicker.
The handful of people who made the key difference between my living and dying, are the ones I call “angel” — and find it easy to do so.
It’s not over- anything. It barely does them justice. And, I have to say, some of them were a real surprise: people who aren’t apparently nice can be genuinely decent and deeply good.
Like every ER nurse ever, I used to preen myself on how good a judge of character I was. This disease, and the many versions of Hell that it comes with, teaches us a thing or two about human nature.
It’s fair to say that, even at my most brain-frozen, my judgement about people’s core attributes is better than it used to be.
I know where to find the real angels on this earth.
|Among my besties, that’s where.|