Just be there…

I’m reading some really meaningful, insightful, humorous , and heartfelt&heartbreaking blogs from cancer patients, some are survivors and some are no longer with us. I have experience when my beautiful sister died of metastatic cancer from unknown origin. It was a three month “journey ” from diagnosis to her death.

And the doctors never came out and told her that she wasn’t long for this world. She had numerous “uptakes” on her bone scan. There was a black “swimming cap” on her skull. It had went down her spine , to the clavicles, to ribs on both sides, to her wrists, to her pelvis, and down both femur bones, kind of tapering off above the news.  Point is, I’m not a doctor, but I knew that she was definitely not going to live long. But, I hoped for around six months.

Once I heard she had cancer, I was there every day. And if I had to miss a day, I called and spoke with her. And I did not give her false hope or say God will get you through this. I was just THERE. We listened to music, watched “the walking dead.” Sat outside in the sun. Had a bonfire or two.  3 or four of us were always at her side. Sometimes they couldn’t fit all of us in the consultation rooms on doctor visits or radiation treatments. And when she began to realize she was dying, then we could cry about, rant and rave, discuss her fears of dying, her fears of how we, her family, were  going to deal with her death, and most of all, how she couldn’t bear to leave US. It will have been 3 years, January 18. Seems like yesterday, but I’m slowly realizing that is forever. I know I’ll always feel pain and I’ll always feel happy with memories of our life together. Her essence still lives within all of us.

And I’m glad that, for the most,  most of her friends came by to visit her. I understand it’s hard sometimes to go visit a friend that has cancer. But, if you care, if you want to help, do it. Go buy a gift for visit, maybe flowers, doughnut, chocolate,and Any little treat or trinket, a memento, old pictures, and don’t leave the little ones at home. I remember how she glowed with love when her grandchildren or grandnieces &nephews came. That house was always full of family and friends. And in the end days, we adjusted the visits to fewer at a time , cause it was too much on her. And we all would share our shifts, so that at least one of us was with her 24/7.

So, my point is, if you have  a loved one or a close friend, just be there for them. And be sure and read some of the well meaning  comments that are so useless and sometimes upsetting. Just go with the flow and “make memories.” It is a kind of “purgatory ” living with one foot in life and one in death. But, we all have to walk it someday and although we’re surrounded by loved ones , we are essentially alone in the final moments. So be sure you’re talking if pleasant memories, low lighting, and their music playing softly in the background.  Tell them you love them hold their hand, and even lie beside them if possible.  Acknowledge their feelings and allow them to be sad. And when they’re really grouchy and snap at everyone and everything. Back off…and when things are better , don’t be afraid to admonish them gently and say that it’s ok to feel all those bad things, and to let us know when it’s “stormy” weather, and everyone will give them some space. But, remind them, that we adults know she doesn’t really mean to snap, and we can forget and forgive, but not so much for the young ones. And just let that fact sink in. That’s my opinion, I may be wrong.

I now have Non small cell lung cancer with some brain mets, 2 pea sized. And so now, I went from “early lung cancer” to stage IV lung cancer. And I’m educating my family on how NOT to tell me “”be positive!” About what, I say! And then I explain how I know they love ❤️ me, but I really don’t feel like being positive right now.  Ok I’m done. Off my soap box.


2 thoughts on “Just be there…

  1. Beautiful words. Your sister was blessed to have such a supportive family. Thinking of you and your fight. Take good care of yourself Howard Ann You are blessed with so many that love you.


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