Aging Gracefully,  SURVIVAL & HEALING

How to Accept Death

As in past blog posts, I am posting old journal entries that helped me get through rough times. Here is one that I found on dying. Writing this journal entry was my way of figuring out how to accept death.

My Best Friend’s Husband

My best friend’s husband passed away this weekend. I was around when she met him and when they married and had children. He was like a brother to me. Steve wasn’t even 60 years old yet. How does this happen? We are supposed to grow old and enjoy grandchildren and great grandchildren. How is she surviving this horrible loss? How would I ever survive such a loss?

Death Itself

Death itself doesn’t scare me. But being left behind to mourn those who go before us terrifies me!

Here is something I went through years ago and how I dealt with it and learned from it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Death

My friend is dying. They just told us she has less than two months left to live. FUCKING CANCER!!!!

It’s a gorgeous evening. Looking out my window I can see the sun starting to set and it’s shining through the trees. I remember nine months ago, taking a walk at the retreat cabin in Michigan with Gayle and we spoke of how this was our favorite time of the day. We stood still and breathed in the freshness and the cool breeze and watched the sun set over the lake. Our friend was fine! She was healthy and happy. Gayle had just met a man, she had her entire life ahead of her to enjoy his company….

I am so angry. And I am feeling guilty that I am able to continue on with my life and enjoy the cool breeze and the sun setting on the lake, and she can’t.

And I wonder… how will we all be able to sit on that same dock this summer at the Michigan cabin without her. She loved that spot and she loved laughing and talking about life while sitting there under the stars.

fucking cancer

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Courage

I honestly believe that there are people who have been put into my life to teach me courage. Two of them are my children. They have been through a lot in the short time they have been on this earth. I can see how strong they have become because of it. My son is going through a terrible heartbreak. But his strength and courage keep him going and his sister is right by his side, pushing him forward. Making him see that there is more to life. I am so proud of them both.

And then there is Gayle, my friend who is dying. The doctor told her at the beginning of the week that she had less than two months to live. It turns out that she is going downhill so fast, she probably won’t make it into next week.

Sadness

I have been devastated for days. Feeling so bad for her,  for those of us who call ourselves her friend and for the loss of such a wonderful being. But then I spent some time with her today. Yes, she looked really really bad. She looked like a skeleton. But she looked at me with the same gorgeous blue eyes that i am used to seeing. She reached up and kissed me on the cheek, the way she always does when we see each other.  Her spirit has not changed at all. She still spoke her mind. She still laughed at our jokes and at herself and all of the crazy things she has done over the years. 

And she spoke to us of her funeral. She told us exactly what she wants and how she wants it. Of course we said “whatever you want Gayle. It’s your day.” She smiled through the pain and the weakness and said, “Yes it is” and then she told us to please believe that she is not afraid, that she is ready. Gayle’s body is tired of fighting and feeling the pain. She said she was used to being independent and she hates that she cannot get out of bed and walk to her own bathroom. Our friend wants it to be over and she doesn’t want us to worry or fuss over her.

Lessons

I feel good because I was with her. We held hands, I kissed her cheeks and looked into her blue eyes and told her I loved her. I might see her in a few days and I might not. But no matter what happens, I feel okay because her courage and her strong will taught me a huge lesson today. Not to be selfish and try to hold onto the shell of a body that is no longer good. Her spirit and her soul are still there. That is what she will take with her. The body is just a shell to be discarded. 

Before we left her, she promised she would be at her memorial and to drop a feather or some other reminder for us. 

She was a great teacher to me. I will always love her for that.  

Accepting death and looking ahead is hard, emotionally. But it’s something we all will encounter at some point in our lives.  

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