Tag Archives: death

Facing the Inevitable


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.

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Filed under Feelings, Uncategorized

Everything is Bits and Pieces


My two special pieces: my daughter Molly and my grandson Hammie

I am thinking about bits and pieces today. Everything in our lives, as well as our lives, our bodies and our Earth, comes in bits and pieces. Or it’s put together that way. Or not. Sometimes the pieces are huge, such as birth, death, divorce, marriage and so on. Other times, the bits are so very tiny we can’t even see them, such as the thousands of particles emitted when a wood fire is burning or the electricity that is only visible when we see lightning or sparks coming out of the wall outlet.

Today is the day before the 4th of July. That makes it the 3rd of July. I have just gotten out of the hospital again this week. That makes 12 days out of the last 52 that I had a nice little private room, no rest, peanut butter and crackers (no salt on the top) at night, and thousands of milligrams of Prednisone. I had my vital signs taken over and over, three IVs had to be replaced and found out they don’t allow hair dryers in hospitals (at least not here) because of the possibility of a short.

Friends and family called and came by, always making my day brighter. One friend sent flowers, the beauty of which will always remain in my memory. They were yellow daisies and lilies in a short, square vase. Yellow is my favorite color. The bits and pieces of my life in the last nearly two months are clear and cloudy. In between hospital stays, I went to Atlantic City, watched my beloved grandson graduate from eighth grade, swam and walked so much my muscles were sore for days afterward and won $14 (my gambling limit was $25).

A couple of people got angry and frustrated with me, my cats missed me more than anyone else I think (they refuse to leave the room I’m in now, no matter what room!), and my feelings ranged from elation to despair. I had wellness to drop-dead headache pain, watched the rain fall and the sun go down, and now I’m trying everything I can to just STAY well and GET healthy.

I’ve lost ten pounds in the last ten days. I haven’t done it on purpose. It just happened. That’s a blessing compared to the 30 pounds I gained the first time around on Prednisone. Prednisone – a miracle drug that wreaks havoc on your body.

Everything we have materially, all things we say either verbally, in writing or in sign language, and the whole fabric of our life experiences comes in bits and pieces.  Our cloth is made of plaids, stripes, stars, lying down and getting up, music and silence, and warm and cold. We can never predict what will happen each day.

How we go with the river of rapids and pools determines how we feel each day. If we fight the rapids, we’ll probably drown. If we never get past the cool, blue pools, we might not see a tomato plant growing day by day.

There are so many side stories to these last nearly two months of my life. But the most important story is that God blessed me today by giving me these words to share with you. I hope your holiday is safe for and friendly to you. This is an amazing country that we live in. And each day, our lives can be wondrous testaments to that and to life itself, or they can be cesspools filled with bacteria and viruses waiting to eat us alive. It’s really ours to choose. What will you choose today?

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Filed under Health, Holidays