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THE LONG WAIT

1 October 2002

One of the most difficult things that we are faced with in this life is watching someone we love die. Whether it happens suddenly, or takes a longer time, there is no escaping the pain of losing that special part of our life that revolved around the person we love.

Life goes on hold when there is no hope, but death is delayed. My sister hung on in a coma for seven weeks after the bullet was removed from her brain, before her kidneys finally failed. Around us life went on while within our little circle, time stood still, the world revolving around reports from the hospital...

...she moved a finger today...

...her eyes fluttered today...

...her temperature went up to 108 today...

Then came the end, and the conflicting feelings of relief that it was finally over, and pain that it was finally over.

Slowly, the pace of life outside our little circle began to become more insistent and after time, we were able to join back into the world of the living again.

Gilbert's life and death struggle, like David's, took place over hours, not weeks. First was the shocking news--there's been a tragic accident. From where we were, there was nothing we could do but sit by the telephone and wait for reports.

...it doesn't look good...

...he's going to die...

...we're taking him off life support...

...he's gone...

No time to adjust to the fact that the person you love who was so alive this morning, is now dead.

Shock.

then grief

Then the "grief process."

Then slowly coming out of the fog and back into life yet again.

When you are dealing with the last hours / days / weeks of someone you love, you become an island unto yourself and those closest to you.

People who care about you are on the shore, watching your suffering, wishing there were something that could be done to help, feeling so terribly helpless.

When those people live at a distance, it's even more difficult. Can't even drop off a ham or a potato casserole to help get the family through the difficult days when the last thing you can think of is food.

Can't stop by to give a hug, no matter how useless that may be.

Can't call to offer an encouraging word for fear of disturbing the long wait.

My friend is losing her mother.

A stroke.

..."It doesn't look promising"...

...she's a little better today...

...she's had another spell...

I feel so helpless. But I'm here and she's there and there is nothing I can do but wait until the time is right and she's able to get out from the island of pain that she and her family are inhabiting. There is nothing I can do, nothing I should do, and yet I feel so helpless.

Now I know how she felt when Paul died and she felt the same helplessness.

There is nothing lonelier than having to go through the long wait, no matter which side of the island you're on.

Quote of the Day

For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.

--Kahlil Gibran

Photo of the Day

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One Year Ago
Groggily Yours
At 8, Walt shook me to ask what we were going to have for dinner. I had actually planned to cook chicken burritos, but muttered something about leftover roast beef and I tried to wake up, but I just could not get my eyes to open. He said he'd fix himself something. I went back to sleep.

Two Years Ago
Room with a View
We went to a supermarket and loaded up on food, then went to Mervyn's, where Peggy gave me a course in power shopping (that girl does know how to spot a bargain!)


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Created 9/30/02