Dealing with Death: How to honor those that are passing

Cancer is a bitch.

Sorry for the slang, but it is the only way I can look at it. Remember my blog, my rules. 😉

I lost a friend today.

We lost a good woman and heaven gained another angel.  I am devastated and yet relieved that she no longer is suffering.  I’d like to think that she is looking out for us now.  I’d like to think that she is finally happy to be with her heavenly father.  I’d like to think so.

To celebrate her, I want to talk about how I saw her and what she meant to me.  I only knew her for a few short years but the impact she had on me was profound.

Jo could not have come at a better time.  I met her unexpectedly and it was a time when I really needed someone to tell me to “hang on, you’re doing the right thing.”

She was a woman of God, who loved her family and especially Jim, her husband.   When I met her, she was battling a rare form of cancer supposedly caused by a birth control her mother took before she was conceived.  Who knows what really caused it.

The first time I met Jo, she and her husband came to clean my house.  She looked skinny, frail, pale and had already lost her hair from going through chemotherapy.  Contrary to her appearance, her smile was so bright it lit up the room.  Her energy was that of a healthy young woman ready to work.

I talked with her for a few minutes and she went on doing her job.  When she and her husband finished, my house felt so clean and for the first time that day, I felt that God had answered my prayers to help me feel that my life will get better.  It started with my house.

I spent a few minutes with her talking about her cancer, her family and her life and what I saw was a strong woman with one of the strongest faiths in God.   From how she moved from one place to another in my house, I could not tell she was in so much pain.  I could not see it in her face.  She told me she was constantly in pain.  What strength she had.  To me, she put those people to shame who are always asking for handouts when they are completely able to work.

A lot of our conversations were based on subjects that talked about strength in God and helping me through difficult times.  Looking back, I think she helped me more than I ever helped her in her situation.  She taught me so much and through her experiences, I gained some wisdom and knowledge about people that only experience and time could teach.

The most important thing I learned from her was acceptance. Jo accepted me for who I am from the beginning before she even met me.  The timing was crucial as I started having doubts about what I was doing in life.  I drew strength from her from our weekly meetings until I was finally ok.

When she refused chemotherapy and other drugs to help her with her cancer, I knew she was tired of the battle.  She refused the pain medication as much as she could so that she stayed coherent and not miss a moment with her family.  She was not worried about death.  During our last conversation she told me she was worried about her family, especially her husband.   I told her not to worry because her family would take care of him and if he needed something from us, we would be there to help him.  She made arrangements for her husband after she had passed away.  She told me she loved me so much, and I told her I loved her.

Although she knew I appreciated her, she never knew how much.

Her daughter messaged me and told me she was in a coma and I asked my husband to take me there.  And he drove me to her house.  I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and I met her children for the first time.  I told her daughter how much I loved her mother and she told me she loved me.

I talked to Jo briefly.  I knew she could hear me.  I told her I loved her.  I thanked her for everything she has done for me.  I thanked her for accepting me.  I thanked her for loving me.  I told her we would see each other again.

I lost a good friend today.  The world lost a good woman, wife, mother, sister, and a friend…the world lost a wonderful person.

Until we meet again, my friend.

A couple of thoughts that I recommend when it comes to dealing with death.

  1. Donate to hospice. If you have ever walked this road and hospice was there to meet you, you will know the value they bring to the table.
  2. Plant a Tree: you can reach those guys and ask what is best for your area. They are specialists. In Europe they commonly plant a tree when someone is born, but I like the idea of planting one when some dies so that you always remember their legacy.

Just my thoughts.

Peace to you all.