Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New View

Here is an example of the "new" way that my mind works, since entering cancerworld, and why I am not in a hurry to be sociable:
My dad had an abdominal aortic aneurysm repaired this autumn ("a lot of alliteration from anxious anchorman placed in a powerful post" -- does anyone else remember this line of Albert Brooks' from Broadcast News?). ANYWAY, my dad had a successful surgery, without complications, and he is once again playing golf, tennis, riding his bike, etc. We are thankful and happy that he is well and enjoying his life.

I was talking to my parents on the phone last week, and as we talked, they told me that an acquaintance (not a close friend) of theirs had recently passed away from an aneurysm, to which I replied, a bit absent-mindedly, "I'm so sorry, but what a great way to go!"
There was a silence at their end of the line.
I said, "It's quick & painless; you know, BANG - lights out! No suffering." They seemed a little shaken. Then it dawned on me that they might be feeling as if they had just dodged a bullet; that their acquaintance had just died from the condition that my dad had had surgically repaired.
I called them back a few days later and asked, "Were you saying, 'Phew! We dodged a bullet!,' and did I miss your point?" and my mom said, "Yes." I started laughing at how widely I had missed their meaning, and about where my mind had gone, instead: What's a good way to die, if you are lucky enough to reach your 80s?
I know that we are all going to die, so nowadays, I think more in terms of good ways to go than obsessing about a fact that I cannot change. Being present when our daughter died took the fear of the transition away, and it seems that what is left in me is prayer that I will fulfill my work here with great love, and prayers for a swift, painless departure when my time comes. May we all be so blessed!

4 comments:

Dawn~^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, and Seth's mom said...

Another comment on the same day!!! Before Brandon left, both of my feet were FIRMLY planted here. Now, not so much...one is here and the other is in Heaven. Initially I did not, and did not think possible to survive the pain. I did not want to be here at all. But then how could I do that??? Other than the obvious of "I can't believe this has happened", I was constantly in that struggle of to be with one of my children, I would not be able to be with my other two, and vice versa.
Eventually I did find my way back the JOY that I believed was gone forever, and totally "be" with my other sons. But you know, just like them.....I have to say I do take comfort that we are all just "one heartbeat" away from each other.

Have a GOOD Day today!
Dawn

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is a great message. It just depends on your "view" as to how you see and feel things. I was actually thinking the same thing as you. Knowing full well how many ways our lives can end...painful, long illnesses, or quick. I say quick is the way to go. The only downside to a "quick" going is the ones left have no time to say the things we need to say....but it is easier for the one who is gone I think.
I think of this about my Brother and my Dad. Brother was sick for 2 1/2 years. It was horrible what he edured. And really, the things that needed to be said, they never were spoken. It was better for "us" to have him for those few years, but hard as heck on him.
My Dad, he was sick for 11 days. It was quick for him. Easier for him, not so much for me.

Smileygirl said...

This is something I struggle with (in thought) a lot. I hated to see my Dad suffer for 6 years, would never wish that on anyone and I often thought, if he went "quickly" it would be harder for those left behind but he would have avoided so much pain. But it really changed the relationship we had and the relationships he had with everyone else. I feel a sense of peace in our relationship and I don't think I would have felt that had we not the time. More to say on this but my mind is too jumbled. We'll have a lot to chat about when my mom visits, but ONLY if you're up for it. But, she can relate to a lot of what you feel.

Jennifer said...

"Pretty peppy party, pal."

You GO, girl! Rockin' the "Broadcast News" quote! Big fist bump/high five/celebratory hand gesture from me over here.

On a more serious note -- the first thing I'd think about your parents' acquaintance who died due to an aneurysm is also "Way to go out, dude." The painless way out is the best/most merciful, it seems. Hard on those who remain, particularly if there was unfinished emotional/personal business, but much better for the person. And props to you for figuring out what your parents were thinking ... and re-addressing your comments with them too.

I am so grateful I was there with my grandfather in his last days, a couple weeks ago, but to see him in such pain -- to say it was "awful" ... is an awful understatement. And when he died, my first feeling, strangely, was relief ... for him. That he got to leave his physical pain behind -- and go forward into a different stage of his life.

Now I see I am not alone in feeling relieved for his sake.

Your prayers -- to fulfill the work you have here, with great love, and go out with minimal pain -- there's a lot of grace in those two prayers, I think.

Jennifer