Jump to content

A Friend Is Dying


Recommended Posts

Another friend of mine is dying. (I, like others my age, have lost many). She just called me (in response to a card/note I sent to her) that she would love for me to come over and she would like to talk about her dying and death with me. She has not allowed this with anyone that we know of so far and I am both honored and sad. She is one of these women who has been a pioneer in so many ways and is in my book club of many years. When Bill died she reached out to me often. She lost her husband not too many years earlier and six months later her son, both suddenly. She knows loss too well but is also a rather private person. We chatted and she is exhausted as she has been bombarded with company (family arriving and friends as word has gotten out in this small town and people feel free here to just stop by...) so we will get together probably Monday as she wishes. I hope she is still here. She is at that place where she could live a month or a week. I have been here before with too many friends and, of course, with Bill. I am always honored when each has allowed me to be a part of their process. It is now more difficult because I feel sad myself and so very vulnerable. It is also somewhat easier, because since Bill died, I do not fear death nor do I fear talking about it with her or anyone. She told me today that it is time for her to go and that she has had a long, good life.

I am posting a poem by Mary Oliver (one of my favorite poets who I will get to see in November). One of my heroes, Parker J. Palmer (Madison, WI), posted it on Facebook recently. It speaks of heartbreak so well. Parker has a new book out: "Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit" Of it, Krista Tippett, (host of public radio's, "On Being", author of Einstein's God), says ..."the book we need for recovering the heart, the very core, of ourselves and our democracy". You might have to scroll up when you open the pdf. Not sure why.

Peace to our hearts, Mary Parker J Palmer and Mary Oliver Heartbreak.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary,

I'm sorry to hear you'll be losing yet another friend. By now we know this is a part of life, and yet it makes it no easier, esp. since we know we will be away from them for a time. I hope your visit with her Mon. goes well and uninterrupted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary, dear, we will keep your friend in our thoughts and prayers.

And once again, you've set me on the path toward another good book very much worth reading. Having visited the site you suggested, and having read the sample chapter of Palmer's book, I just ordered it from Amazon and eagerly await its arrival. Thank you for this ♥

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, Marty. Parker is a local hero as well as a national hero respected in the world of education, politics and others. Many of my friends have studied with him. His book, The Courage to Teach, as well as any other of his books are truly inspiring. He is truly a wounded healer and unafraid of being vulnerable. I look forward to reading this new one. It is in the pile of "books to read" which seems to grow almost daily. I will never get ahead. :) So much to read...so much inspiration and so many inspiring people. If you watched the video on Parker's site you got a sense of his gentle spirit as well as a peek at our state capital which was and IS the site of so much pain lately. I KNOW you will like anything he writes.

Peace, Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary,

I'm sorry to hear you'll be losing yet another friend. By now we know this is a part of life, and yet it makes it no easier, esp. since we know we will be away from them for a time. I hope your visit with her Mon. goes well and uninterrupted.

Thank you, Kay. Yes, we never get used to loss but it is expected now. I do hope we have some privacy on Monday. Her kids are not going to be too helpful in that regard and they are both staying there now with spouse, in one case. Whatever will be, will be. I will do my best to let them know her wishes. Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My friend called today (with help) and said, "Mary, I want you to come tomorrow and yes, I want to talk with you about my dying and death. I am honored. Another friend said that she will probably not make it through the week but one never knows. I will see her at 11am tomorrow. She has not talked about her death to anyone so I hope I can help by listening and asking the right gentle questions.

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My friend called today (with help) and said, "Mary, I want you to come tomorrow and yes, I want to talk with you about my dying and death. I am honored. Another friend said that she will probably not make it through the week but one never knows. I will see her at 11am tomorrow. She has not talked about her death to anyone so I hope I can help by listening and asking the right gentle questions.

Mary

Mary,

I know that you say that you are 'honored' to be with a dear friend at this time. I have been down that path. Where does your strength come form? Your insight is beyond words that I can express. Thank you for caring for those of us who are only at the beginning of our grief journey. I am so trying to be brave and face this head on. With all my loses I can't believe that I am having such a difficult time. I loved my Jim with my whole being and I really don't want to accept the fact that he is not with me in the way I want him to be. You are in my thoughts. I have no doubt that you will find the right words to comfort your dear friend. enna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not think you have to be brave. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to you, most likely. Other losses do not hold a candle to this one. Not sure what brave means. Just get up each day and take care of yourself. Cry, journal, see a friend who gets it, if possible. I found reading helpful I devoured books on grief.

Believe me, I have my bad days...had one this week. The first two years p,us I was a major mess. I still am sometimes. I am learning and growing. Accepting and I could not do any of that six months ago. I also have had lots of losses but until Bill died, loss was really a stranger. It knocked me over, brought me down...I will miss him forever. Be patient and be in the process. Give yourself time. Don't push the river...it will flow as long as you are present.

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you. When I got there yesterday, flowers in hand, she was sound asleep and so I will go tomorrow afternoon. I did not want them to waken her. Thank you.

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary, I'll be thinking of you this afternoon...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all. I visited my friend today. It is always difficult to say good-bye and this was also. She is not one of my closest friends but I care deeply about her and she has reached out to me, is kind, super intelligent and asked me to come and chat. We spent about 30 minutes and then she got sleepy. She is as prepared for death as anyone I have known. And i have been through this a lot. She says she has said all she needs to say to family and regrets that she had not contacted more friends and asked that I communicate that for her. We discussed that. Wednesday is my book club day so I will take a card and have everyone write something to her.... Her sadness and tears came when she talked about how good her kids have been to her and how they will miss her. We talked about what is on the other side of death's veil. Wants me to come back again. I do not think she knows how close she is to death even though we talked about it and she is ready. I do think there is a week or more, perhaps but no one ever knows. I was honored to be one of the few non-family she has allowed to come. When my closest ever friend, Betty, died a couple years before Bill I had spent every Thursday with her for months (what a gift that was) and sometimes Saturdays so her husband could get out. I could see her circle of people getting smaller and smaller until it included her immediate family and me. Same with Bill... My mom died in 2006 (4 years before Bill) and I was the last one to talk with her also. I remember telling her I was leaving to get some sleep (I had been with her all night and my sister was coming to spell me off) Mom had been in a coma for two weeks...not one bit of contact. I removed her oxygen mask for a moment and got right in her face and told her I was leaving and my sister was on her way. I then told her it was ok for her to die and go to God. She opened her eyes WIDE, looked right into mine, was fully lucid and said, "What will you and Jim and Sally do if I die?" (sibs) I told her we were all in our 60s and we would be fine, that we would miss her a lot, thanked her for being a great mom and that it was ok for her to go. She looked right into my eyes and said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She died an hour later. Bill had some lucid moments like that also during the last 48 hours. He could not speak but his eyes said volumes.

When I am this close to death (as I was today) I find myself very quiet inside....

Peace,

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow -- what a powerful story of your experience with your mother. I have heard that they stay longer than they might if they are worried about family members. What a gift you gave her, to let her go. I was so affected when you said she told you, Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of this brings me back to when my MIL had cancer and was dying. We had to give her permission to die. She literally willed herself to live for her family. They'd given her about three weeks and she lived two years and eight months after that, every organ in her body had shut down, her blood wouldn't move the Morphine through her body. The last month we only allowed her pastor and immediate family in to see her. It was just too much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary,

I am with you. I still think that it is a privilege for us to be so close to someone who is ready to pass into another dimension. You are a caring person and Bill would be so proud of how far you have come in your grief journey. Enna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary,

I am with you. I still think that it is a privilege for us to be so close to someone who is ready to pass into another dimension. You are a caring person and Bill would be so proud of how far you have come in your grief journey. Enna

Thank you. Most days, I think he would be proud. Everyday he would see the pain just beneath the surface...the agony. Then there are those days when I just weep. Those days, he would just hold me. How I miss that.

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It has been a day of death. My friend's daughter called to tell me her mom died this morning. I had planned to see her again later today.

Then I got tested for hearing aids (pick them up next Tuesday...oh, well) and the person testing me stepped outside to the waiting area for some paperwork. When he returned he remarked that his grandmother was outside as she brought a neighbor to be tested. He had already told me his mom died in May so I asked if this was his maternal grandmother. While he was doing the paper work I went over and sat with his grandmother and told her I was sorry about her daughter. She seemed so sad and so relieved to talk. I learned she also lost her sister since May and feels overwhelmed.

Then I stopped at the General Store to reach out to the owner, a friend, who is really close to the friend who died today and instead see another friend who works there. I am sort of a surrogate mom to her. She told me, through tears, that her grandma died this morning...her last relative and she is in the midst of a painful divorce.

By the time I got home I was drained...and thankful I could be there for these folks. My friend's service will be a Quaker service at Unity Chapel where the Taliesin (Frank Lloyd Wright folks) are all buried. Three of us will organize the food etc. afterwards.

I think I will put my feet up for a while...and read about my new Bluetooth with remote hearing aids. Can you believe that? Bluetooth!

Peace

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, Mary. You have been having a day! I was thinking of starting drinking when I got off work (it's definitely been one of those days!) but I think death stories trumps even my day.

I hope you enjoy those hearing aids! My kids think I need some but I don't think I'm quite there yet. Of course, I did blow out the speakers in my last tv...but then they ought to make them more powerful, don't ya think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has been a day. I am now sitting home, windows open to a lovely fall day, watching the talking heads. My tree in the front yard is almost at peak. But more important than that: What happened in your life today, Kay, that was sending you to the bottle?

Why not get your ears tested at least...then you would know for sure? Costco tests them free via an audiologist...licensed...if you have a Costco nearby. The doctors in Madtown (whoops, Madison) are sending patients to Costco for hearing aids now as you more get bang for your buck there. The ones I am getting sell for twice as much elsewhere and are not as good. I have done my homework. My friends got them there and love them. I got sick and tired of not being able to hear when there is background noise or with someone who speaks softly.

So what happened today, Kay????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've already had my ears tested...my left one has damage from my first husband hitting me, the right one has damage sustained from excessive vibration when I worked in the office at a mill. Neither one warrants hearing aids at this point but with a little more old age thrown in the mix, they will! :)

Just a very harrowing day at work, one of those days when you try to accomplish something and it turns into something much bigger than first envisioned...and it just doesn't seem to end. Not hitting the bottle yet, just thinking about it! Ha ha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kay, I am so sorry about your ear damage especially when one resulted from abuse. I am so sorry you have had so much pain. I do agree...as we age some more...who knows what "assists" we may need. Your day sounds so frustrating...I figured you weren't hitting the bottle but the thought says a lot :)

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wear hearing aids and have done so for quite a long time. I used to be a local history lecturer and it gradually dawned on me how difficult it was to hear responses of students. Here in the UK we get our hearing aids free. I have digital ones. They are not so discreet as if I paid for higher spec ones but I can't really justify that. When I go to get my hair cut I always ask for the hair to be left to cover the top of my ears (I keep my hair very short) but the last time she snipped and snipped and ignored what I said. I shan't y go back to her!

Oh Mary I am so sorry for all those friends and for you having such sad news. Jan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it is a matter of getting used to them. Right now they just feel like a nuisance but I am tired of not being able to hear in restaurants and with soft spoken friends so.... I get them on Tuesday. If we had universal health care here...I would not have to spend mega bucks for them. It is so insane.... people with hearing problems can end up staying home because they can't hear. There they get depressed and over time spend money on anti depressants or get ill and spend money on meds which Medicare covers. It is all upsidedown. You have universal health care and the grief counselor and physician come to your home (unheard of here except for a few heroes like my doctor who came when Bill was dying) and you get free hearing aids. Maybe we will grow up here someday. Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been told that hearing aids are not covered by Medicare, which I have to wait five more years for anyway (if Republicans are elected, I'll have longer to wait). I can't justify several thousand dollars when turning a volume up or asking someone to repeat themselves works too. Besides, I'm of a mind that people need to develop more patience with each other. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is correct that hearing aids are not covered by Medicare. So intriguing. I have been on Medicare for going on 8 years and I see changes (i.e. covering less) but I agree...we are at risk depending on the election results. I do have medigap also, so I never see a bill except the Medigap bill :)

As for needing the hearing aids. I have actually needed them for 4 years and hated to dole out the money but I found myself staying away from certain places or events and even a couple of nice soft spoken people....which is not good for me as I already am not the greatest socializer. I have also learned that asking people to speak up does not work...within three sentences they revert to their own pattern as they forget. So I finally broke down and got them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...