Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Amazing Grace
I just got an email a few moments ago that I have been dreading. A very close, lifelong friend of my family succumbed to a futile struggle with an aggressive brain tumor that was diagnosed at Thanksgiving. Less than five, short months later, and she's gone.

This woman, her husband, and her family, have been part of my family since forever. She, her husband, and my parents, are all the same age and have been close friends since high school, and they are my brother's Godparents. Growing up, we spent countless times together as families, and I even wear the souvenir of a very bad scar on my arm to this day from an ill fated fall and a badly broken arm from a hay mound in their apple orchard as a kid.

As we got older, we all drifted apart, but they were still "family". Christmas cards, and family get togethers over the years, we all watched each other grow up. As adults, we saw them less frequently, but my parents still saw them routinely.

It wasn't until this illness hit, that I (or anyone) could have appreciated the grace, strength, and eloquence that her husband and their children were able to exhibit in this trying period. We all hope that faced with a terminal illness, with little time to spend, that we would all have the grace, strength, compassion and sheer love that they have exhibited - but reading his emails - he just raises that bar by about a million.

If ever there were an example of true love - this is it - and we should all hope to experience this kind of love in our life. They were married for more than 45 years.

This is an excerpt of the email I received at the end of January - just 8 weeks ago, and only 8 weeks after her tumor was first diagnosed and she had surgery:
The brain is the essence of who we are. It controls our thoughts, emotions, communications, movements, and organ functions. A cancerous brain tumor is a horrible affliction on a person. It is terminal with no cure available at this time. People live for "their allotted period of time given from God". The doctors looking for directions toward a cure offer many experimental trials, today they all lead to an end of life after a period of time.
This was the last email I received from him - just one week ago to the day.
Thank you for your kind words and thoughts on the situation. We all know that the time will come when we have to face death, for ourselves or our loved ones. I personally had hoped that it would be much later in life, as very old people. However, I wonder if it would be any easier than today.

At least today I have the energy and strength to care for Nancy. I can lift her, wash her body, brush her teeth, comb her hair, and making sure her vital needs are met. If I was older would this be possible?

At this time in our life I'm given the opportunity to show her all my love and devotion by touching her in a caring way. I can make her comfortable. Proving that the words we spoke at our marriage feast will be met in their entirety.
The last time my parents visited - last Thursday - they weren't sure she recognized them, and she could no longer speak sentences, but she kept repeating the words to "Amazing Grace".

I can't imagine a more fitting memory.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:32 PM  
4 Editorial Opinions:
  • At April 05, 2007, Blogger tfg said…

    I'm speechless.

  • At April 05, 2007, Blogger Double Dogged said…

    I am so sorry for your loss! This brought tears to my eyes reading this post. We know that we all are going to lose our family and friends. It is not easy no matter what! God Bless

  • At April 05, 2007, Blogger Malnurtured Snay said…

    I'm sorry for your loss, Broadsheet. This was a very moving post.

  • At April 05, 2007, Blogger Zenchick said…

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the beauty inside the pain. It is indeed what life is all about. You're all in my prayers.

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