Monday, March 30, 2009

My Friend is Still Ill

It's been a week of ups and downs for her - they removed the breathing tube only to have to put it back in and sedate her again.

Her son is good at sending daily updates but when we heard she was worse and then did not hear from him - two of us were very worried. One conversation last night between another friend and I really showed me how we all have a different way to cope with a possible impending death.

I kept saying "I won't go there - I won't talk about her dying at all" - "I am sending her healing prayers" and the other person was more into talk of her not having to redo her life as she was so totally complete in this one. To me that sounded a bit too pessimistic so I stuck to my "I won't go there" like a broken record.

Later a message from her son came - but it was after 11:30PM on the East Coast. I called my friend back as I knew she would not mind being awakened for good or even bad news. I read it to her - we were so happy and clearly relieved that there was improvement. Then we chatted for an hour or more with tales of the sick pal. She is a character - an individual - and there are many such tales - all of which we need now to get into written form and gather these kinds of tales from other mutual friends as well.

I do not believe in coincidences - for me all has a purpose. So when I had also been asked last week to review an ebook on writing family folk tales - I saw there was a reason I got that task the same week my friend got so ill.

I'll post my book review tomorrow - but for now just keep in mind when you think thoughts about your family or people you love - be they funny or sad or quirky - write them down..

1 comment:

dsonnen said...


You've reached down deep. Death is one fact that is certain for each of us. None the less, it's hard to touch. But, touch it we must. People we love die: parents, friends, relatives.

I've been thinking a lot about death recently. Two close relatives are sick -- stage 4 cancers, inoperable, terminal and other words that frame out the end of life in hard, clear lines.

My wife's brother Ken, decided to fight it. He's in a state of the art medical center doing everything possible: experimental treatments, diet, exercise, counseling. He's optimistic, upbeat and dealing with his disease on his own terms.

My uncle Harry decided not to get treatment. He's going about his routine, delivering Meals on Wheels and working at his church. He's done these simple rituals for years. They define his life. Like Ken, he's dealing with his disease on his own terms.

Ken and Harry are both right. The way that anyone faces their own death is always right.

Intellectually, I accept and honor their decisions.

But, my emotions are more complex. When I think of them, sometimes I feel great sadness. Sometimes, I think of the good times we've had. Sometimes, I think about the good things they have both done. Sometimes, I speculate about what life will be like without them. None of it is easy or comfortable.

Maybe that's why we each react so definitely to close-by death. It's not easy or comfortable. It hurts. Deeply.

But, that pain is a valid, important part of life, just like joy, happiness, love and the multitude of other emotional facets that make our lives real, vibrant and alive.

Feeling all this full-on seems right. Avoiding grief, if you could, would avoid an important part of life. Life would be less full.

All this rambling reminds me of one of Rumi's poems.

I saw Grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out,
"It tastes sweet, does it not?"
"You've caught me", Grief answered, "and ruined my business"
"How can I sell sorrow when you know it is a blessing?"

Pretty smart guy, that Rumi fellow.


PS. Thanks for the link to @blogdiva. She sounds like a kindred spirit!