Sunday, January 13, 2013

Degrees of Death

 

 
 
 

This morning my mother informed me that her close friend, who has been battling Cancer for the last six months, had died in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and two daughters were with her when she exited this world, and was finally free of the intense pain she had been in for the last month.
 
My mum and I have had many conversations about her friend, and what her wishes are if she finds herself in a similar situation. I'm thankful that my mother's friends illness provided the opportunity for us to be able to have such conversations, and I now know exactly what my mother wants.
 
I stood and listened as my mum spoke about her friend, the memories she has of her, the experiences they had shared, and how she was feeling. I was glad that I was able to be there beside her as she processed her friend's passing.
 
I went to tell Laura, but before I was able to she exclaimed that J was dead. J is a young man of 19, who Laura, Nathan and I have known since he was 12, meeting him not longer after we moved into  the Noosa Hinterland. Nathan is very good friends with J's younger brother, having played soccer with him since they were six, and spent many days and nights at their house. Laura went to school with J, socialised with him as he was part of her circle of friends when she lived on the Coast. I have had many conversations with his mother about the perils, and pleasures, of raising teens.
 
There was also another young man involved - C, someone else we all know, and have known for several years. He is in a stable condition, but requires surgery, skin grafts and God knows what else. Both young men, larger then life, with enormous hearts.
 
My head is reeling with a cacophony of emotions. Shock. Confusion. Struggling to make sense of the degrees of death... One death arrived slowly, painfully, over six months, claiming a woman in the winter of her life. The other so quickly, so unexpectedly, taking someone in the midst of their spring...
 
I watch and listen to my own children process similar feelings, different yet the same, felt through their own limited lenses of the world. I reach to comfort my daughter. She pushes me away. "Don't" ... I worry for my son. The need to see him right now is intense.
 
I can only begin to imagine what J and C's parents are feeling right now. Thinking about it makes my breath catch in my throat, my heart clench tight.
 
The gossamer fine thread that is life ... so strong, yet so fragile at the same time. How can that be?
 

18 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear of the deaths of those that you knew - death is always to hard to deal with. I wish there was something I could say or do that would help in some small way.
    Sending lots of hugs, love and positive energy your way !
    Take care.
    Me

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    1. Thank you. For commenting. That means a lot.

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  2. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses lovely. Words fail me with much else after having read this. Loss is terrible, no matter what the circumstance

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  3. There is no sense to it, just as there is no sense to life. One of my favourite lines from a movie is when Frances de la Tour talks about life and 'the sheer randomness of it all'. It is a line I recall often.
    My dad died suddenly from a heart attack when I was 23, six years later his best friend (who's children I grew up with) died from cancer. My sister and I talked a lot about the differences, Kev's kids had a chance to say goodbye, but on the other hand had to watch him suffer terrible pain.
    I found this website really helpful when I was trying to make sense of it all:
    http://www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk/
    Much love to you Vicky xxx

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    1. Thank you Catherine.You are right - there is no sense in it. So I have stopped trying, and are just moving through it. xx

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  4. I'm so sorry Vicky. Grief is the hardest emotion of all, and death is a topic we flee from until we are faced with its harsh reality. Lots of love and nurturing to you at this difficult time. xx

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    1. You are very right heartmama. It isn't a topic that we speak of freely. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have insightful discussions with my mother about what she wants to happen in the event she becomes unwell, or even if she dies suddenly.

      x

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  5. It's impossible to try and make rhyme or reason of death. My dad and uncle both died young - 61 and 62 - both in very different fashions. My dad of a sudden massive heart attack, my uncle slowly of dementia/parkinsons/complications from each. This is a beautifully written post. I'm sorry for your losses :(

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    1. Thank you Aroha. It is comforting to know that I'm not alone in my struggle to understand. It has helped me to stop trying to make sense and just be in it.

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  6. It's horrible isn't it?
    My dad was diagnosed with leukemia just before Christmas and is somewhat relieved. He likes the idea of not being an old person with dimentia in a nursing home, which is, I guess, an mother kind of death.
    So sorry for your losses xx

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    1. Oh Jess. I'm so sorry to hear this. I know that he says is he is relieved, but I'm sure that you have a myriad of emotions yourself. Much love, light and strength to you and yours. xxx

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  7. So sorry for your losses, Vicky. I can never wrap my head around death - whether it's sudden or a long process. It's always so devastating. x

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    1. Thank you Grace. I'm realising so profoundly just how much death is a part of life.x

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  8. oh when it rains, it pours. Im so sorry to hear of your sad news. Life is far too fragile. Look after you and those you love xxxx

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    1. It's the overwhelming feeling of, but for the grace of god go I. It has been a pivotal moment in our lives. I have been seizing every day. The good the bad the ugly. Xxx

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  9. Death is a nasty piece of work, it shows no mercy and at times gives no warning but at other times, when warning bells are ringing it brings with it extreme suffering and pain.

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