Thursday, October 3, 2013

Death and dying

Who wants to read about that?  The trouble is that when it overtakes your life, there isn't much else you can write about without the subject looming peripherally.

My friend, Marie, is dying.  She is part of the high school "gang" that meets every month for lunch and laughs.  She was at the September lunch looking all lively and enthusiastic and a week later she couldn't breathe.  She went to the hospital to find that her lungs are failing and there's nothing they can do.

She spent two weeks in the hospital, and yesterday she went home to die surrounded by family, Hospice, and pain medication.  When she is lucid, she gives directions to her daughter on how to take care of Phil, her husband, and listing his favorite recipes.  She is still Marie.

Our gang is knocked over with this event and our helplessness in the face of it.  We have fasted, prayed and made hospital visits. But it is a reality that we have only joked about before.  "We could die," we've said to each other after hitting seventy, but really, we were all thinking maybe in ten or fifteen years.  For Marie, death is at her doorstep.

The rest of us mourn and stand in awe of a life well-lived.  A life of grace and generosity.


  1. Have you read "A Global Mom" by Melissa Dalton Bradford? She writes about her son's death and I cry. Death can be (is usually) so rotten.

  2. Marie sounds wonderful - I'm so sorry.

  3. Makes me sad for you, and her family.

  4. So sorry, Louise. Love to you.

  5. So sorry to hear this, Louise.
    My Aunt Natalie died from cancer (at 55) about a month ago. I was given the task to clean up her cell phone and save pictures/videos. In doing this, I was also going through her emails and saw a whole bunch from her book group. They were emailing back and forth about ways to help out. They would take turns with my Mom and her siblings to stay at the house (Natalie never married or had children) when she was no longer coherent. As a family member, I was so very appreciative that her friends were so willing to help even if it was just spending time visiting. I'm sure your friend's family will be very grateful for all that you have done.
    Thoughts are with you and your friends.