This is not a happy post, so if that’s what you came for today, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
No, this post is about my friend Janet, the one who has cancer, the one who has kept a peaceful demeanor throughout all the demeaning therapy – from chemo to radiation to not being able to continue at times because of the nausea and not being able to take any medicine for the nausea because she’s allergic to most of them.
It’s about how I called her today and she told me that she’s getting ready to go on hospice and doesn’t think she’ll live to see her next birthday (at the beginning of November this year). I haven’t seen her since last year, due to my own illness. I told her I’d come down if she needs me, but she said no, she didn’t want to put that kind of liability on me or anyone. I asked, “Well, couldn’t I come to your house so you can stay there?”
“No,” she said. “Hospice has changed. I don’t have any family members, so I can’t have someone here. I have some decisions to make now,” she continued.
This is the woman who gave me a place to live for three years after I got back from teaching in Korea the first time. This is the woman who helped me buy a car, a computer and a comfortable mattress. I’m happy to say I did pay her back eventually.
I don’t want to not be able to call her number and not find her at the other end of the phone. I don’t want to think I may not get to see her again after all. I don’t want to face the inevitable happening of her death.
I have a friend up here in South Carolina. I called her a couple of weeks ago, only to find out that she had not only had another stroke, but she had a heart attack at the same time and they didn’t know if she was going to make it. Fortunately, she did make it. “But I’m feeling a little weak,” she told me today.
Being so ill for the last many months, I’ve had a lot of time to think about many different things, about what’s important and what’s not. I’ve thought about my own death and wondered what I would do if I knew approximately how long I had left to live. Here is the little list I came up with.
1. I would smile more and complain less.
2. I would make sure I told everyone I love how much I love them.
3. I would not worry about how much I weigh.
4. I would find new homes for some of my favorite things that my daughter and grandson don’t want.
5. I would definitely find a new and loving home for my precious kitties.
6. I would visit all my dearest friends and family one last time.
7. I would finish my book. Maybe I’d better get started on this one, what do you think?
8. I would go to help at the soup kitchen more.
9. I would leave all my papers for my daughter to go through.
and 10. I would thank God every day for all I have.
I know I can’t stop Janet’s death. I also know I need to continue LOSING weight in order for me to have a longer life! But some things I can do now, like smiling more and complaining less.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope that if you’ve lost someone recently, you know he or she is in a better place, just waiting to say, “Hello,” again one day.