Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rainy Days

I have found literally every excuse in the book to keep me from writing the past several months.  I sat here now not really wanting to write but needing to in the worst possible way.  Writing has always been my therapy. For most of my adult life, I have realized this.  It has helped me in times of loss, health crisis, relationship issues and so much more.  Most everything that life has thrown my way, I have used writing as a coping tool.  It works pretty well for me.

I can hear the thunder rumbling outside; the sky is cloudy and it seems that still another storm is on the horizon. It has been the rainiest summer ever.  Sometimes it has rained for a week or so.  Not your average summer as we usually know it. 

So, here I am talking about the weather when what I really want to write about is that one of my best friends is dying of cancer.  Perhaps if I could just write and put my emotions out there, it will help me. It will help me deal with the surreal nature of this entire process.

The year started off bad for her when she had to put her beloved Buttons to sleep. Buttons had belonged to her sister that passed away several years ago.  She said it was almost like losing her sister all over again.  She was wondering how she was going to make it without her sweet companion. That was in January or early February. 

Then out of the blue her sister died suddenly.  It was her one and only sibling that she had left.  She was also her best friend. They called each other every single morning and night to chat and check in on each other.  It was sudden and unexpected.  Apparently during this time, she was having some pain herself that she had checked out as soon as possible.

  About two weeks later, she was dealing with a terminal diagnosis herself.  I have thought about how all this has come about.  She has often said that losing "June" first was meant to be. June would have worried herself sick about the diagnosis and treatment.  The oncologist told her it was a very aggressive cancer and without treatment she might only live a few weeks. She chose treatment.  This would buy her some time.....time to settle her sisters estate and dispose of her ashes.

Now I guess the time that was bought for her has been spent.  She finished her first two treatment cycles and a CT scan showed the cancer responded well to the chemo.  Most all her tumors had decreased dramatically in size.  So she finished her 4 remaining treatment.  Altogether she had 6 treatment cycles. She tolerated it much better than I anticipated.  Of course, she lost her hair but overall, she remained fairly healthy.

Now the cancer is back and day by day is stealing her very life. She is getting weaker by the hour.  Last night she was admitted as a Hosparus patient.  I am hoping we can keep her comfortable and at home until the very end.  I will go tomorrow to stay with her. I'm not sure how long but if she wants me to, I will stay till the very end.

Today she told me that for over a week now, there has been a woman in bed with her.  She gets up trying not to disturb her and goes to sleep on the sofa.  Its not anyone that looks familiar but just a woman asleep in her bed.  I told her it is her angel.  Perhaps it really is.  I believe in angels. I believe we are never alone. I believe that God sends us just who we need to help us through the darkest of times.

I've always thought our friendship a little strange. She is 20 years older than me and we never had a lot in common.  But we stayed in touch, spending time together combing through thrift stores and having an occasional lunch date.  Now, perhaps I understand why.  I feel God is using me to be there for her.  I just know this is something I am suppose to do and so I will. 
I shall hold her hand and cry; we will pray and talk about what is happening to her.  I will spoil her in whatever way I can. I will let her know she is not alone and she is loved.

As I prepare to travel to share in this journey, I am reminded of just how fragile that life really is. I am reminded that NO we really don't have forever. We have the here and now. That's all. That is all we ever get.  I am reminded not to worry about things that don't really matter.  I am reminded that money and material possessions don't really matter. It is Faith, Family, Love, Hope, Friends, Laughter, Peace, Joy........these are the things that matter.  Our very life will fade away.  It is the difference we make in the lives of others that will live on after we are gone.

My heart is heavy but I know my friend will be in a much better place soon.  She will not be in pain. She will not be afraid and worried.  She will know peace and joy in a way that we cannot begin to imagine.  I will miss her so very much.  We have been friends for 13 years now.  There will be a huge void in my life and in my heart. I hope I can replace it with memories of the good times we've had together.  She will live on in my heart and soul.

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