52 FEATS – NUMBER 28 (Counting My Blessings)

12 Jul

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

It was my plan to do a “Counting My Blessings” Feat this week (I also thought about calling it “Keeping on the Sunny Side” or “Remaining Positive”), and yesterday it became much more important than I originally realized.

A friend of mine was moved to a hospice center last night.  He’s been battling cancer for over 3 years now, fighting with everything he’s got.  It’s not that he’s a super-positive person; in fact, you might consider him downright crabby, even on his good days.  But the will to survive is strong, and he has endured more than any of his friends can believe.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to defeat this terrible disease once and for all.

All kinds of things have been going through my mind, things about which I can’t come up with answers.  My friend isn’t married and has no kids – does that make this situation better or worse?  Is it right to expect certain responses to grief from others?  And what about the ethical dilemma of withholding nutrition?

I’m going to visit him tonight.  I’m nervous because I’ve never been to a hospice center, but more so because I’ve never talked to someone who knew they were dying.  I don’t know how to handle a conversation with him, but I’m going to do my best to get my crying done before I see him.  Then afterwards, I’ll come back home, have another good cry, and kiss my kids within an inch of their lives.

Count your blessings, people.

5 Responses to “52 FEATS – NUMBER 28 (Counting My Blessings)”

  1. nicola July 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    This is Nicola – Valerie’s friend and a friend of the person you mention above. I am also going tonight and I know that while it will be difficult, it can only help for him to know we are there for him. You tell him why you are glad he has been in your life and how important his friendship has been to you. You tell him that the pain will be gone soon and you tell him you will not forget him in your life and that you will carry a part of him with you always. And then when you get in your car, you let the tears flow and have yourself a good cry. And like you said, you kiss your kids and remember to be grateful for each day. I’m sending you all my strength – tonight will be hard but but you’ll have no regrets for going.

  2. Lori July 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    This probably won’t come as any consolation, but it’s my experience. My paternal grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer (stage IV) a few years ago. Within about a month of her diagnosis she was in a Hospice care facility. By the time I made it out to see her (in Michigan), she couldn’t really speak. It was a very difficult time for our family. I had NO idea what to say to her. I prayed before I went into the room though, and the words just came. When that happens, I call it Divine Intervention! I had one of my children with me, so that made it a litter easier. I could talk about my daughters, what we had been up to, and I even sang her one of the kids’ favorite songs. When I left, (after a long weekend stay) I felt SO blessed that I had had the opportunity to say goodbye. How many times to people suddenly lose their lives and we never get that chance. That chance to say whatever it is we think we need to say to them. The chance to tell them how much we love them and how much they have impacted our lives. It wasn’t easy at all, and I have a tremendous amount of empathy for you tonight. You are brave, thoughtful, and caring. A lot of people in this situation choose to avoid it. It’s too hard to face death. Kudos to you for going to see your friend; for spending valuable precious time with him; and for telling him whatever it is that inspires you in the moment. You don’t have to have the words now. Ask in the moment, and they will come to you. If you need to talk with someone, please call me tonight!

  3. Richelle July 13, 2011 at 2:00 am #

    Oh, Jen, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for you, your friend and everyone who loves him. Don’t worry about what to say. Even if the words don’t come, I’m sure just your presence will be a comfort to him.

  4. Martha Mattison July 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I am sorry you had to go through this. I hope your visit went well. You will be glad you went to say goodbye, and he will be, too.

  5. Stephanie July 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Jen, one of the questions you mentioned is one I had, too. And I just keep thinking “it’s not fair” even though I know that’s childish and I should know better by now than to be saying that. I’m so glad we were together and I like to think he knows we were still there after he went back to sleep and I’m convinced he felt the touches. And the part where you mentioned him being crabby made me smile – that’s why we love him. 🙂

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