Friday, September 23, 2005

Live In It

My friend's father died. He read my post and all of your sweet comments. It meant a lot to him and he appreciated the good thoughts you were sending his way. Thanks for that. And just for being there.

We got the email Wednesday saying that his dad was gone. I am torn between relief and sorrow. I know that, as hard as it was to be at his father's bedside day after day in hospice, there was no other place he should have been. I also know that, as much as you long for them to not suffer and to have peace, the letting go is a long time coming. Even after their last breath.

My friend returns home (here) on Sunday. We are anxious for his arrival, wanting to shower him with love, wanting to make something better, if even it is making ourselves feel better. It's no error that we are all bonded by something deeper now, even though we never met JB's dad, even though we weren't there. He is our dear friend and our hearts break for his loss.

When I received the email, my heart lept up in my throat and I immediately wrote back to him thinking I might catch him on line. Wisconsin is so far away. It felt like another planet in that moment. Instead of crying at my desk, I took a walk and ended up at Supple's work where I found her surveying teas in the local organic market she works at. I told her about JB and his dad and tears welled up in both of our eyes. In these kinds of moments, it is good not to be alone.

When I got back to my desk, Jenny Two Times called upset after just reading the email. She cried. I cried. We wanted to DO something and yet, what is there to do? How do you balance not crowding while still being there, showing you care? I know JB will return changed. It is impossible not to.

All this talk of dying inspired me to finally apply for a volunteer position at Hospice. After my experience with my grandmother's death four years ago and the death of my father 11 years ago, I figure that all that loss has to amount to something productive and good. I need to USE what I know to make a difference. I try to do that every day in my job, why not take it one step further and volunteer? It was a bit scary to take that leap. . .but then I think I blew it. They loved me in the interview and seemed engaged in my answers to their questions but then I had to go and be HONEST. Damn my honesty! They ask for a one year commitment and I felt compelled to tell them that I might not be living in Santa Cruz in one year's time. If they don't select me to go through the rigorous training, I will know that THAT was what stopped them. I understand. Maybe it just isn't my time for this kind of work?

I've been thinking about my friends a lot. Thinking about loss and death sure can make you wake up and appreciate what you have right now in this present day or what you formerly had and didn't appreciate enough at the time. Talking to Supple and Jenny Two Times the day we got the news about JB's dad, my love for them was so tangible. To have them to lean on right now as we struggle to figure out how to help our friend. . .it is good to not be alone. I am so incredibly lucky to have such wonderful friends and such a loving family. In these raw moments, that realization strikes me deeply.

If you could take this moment to think about the people you love in this life, about the incredible ability we each have to LOVE and then just LIVE in that love fully and then TELL them. If even for just today, do that. Relish in it. There is never enough time. There is no better time than right now to share your heart.

Thanks for being here. You matter to me.


Her Daddy's Eyes said...

Wow Siz, very powerful post. Thanks, I needed this. I don't have the best relationship with my mom and I think I'll ring her up today to just say "hi".

Your words matter to me. Thanks...


P.S. Chin up. Here's to you. *holds up pretend glass of wine* (What?...I'm a work.)

Bill said...

There's a Tom Waits' song, 'Take It With Me,' with the wonderful line:

"All that you've loved is all you own."

Worth thinking about. Great post.

sue said...

What a lovely post... if they don't take you, it's their loss.
..oh, and you matter to ME, too!

Mo-Pie said...

My condolences to your friend and his family... As I said before, you seem to be a good friend and I no that his father is in heaven right now looking down with smiles and cries, knowing he's now in a better place and his son has friends who can care for him.

Jenster said...

Your post is absolutely spot on. I wish more people got what you said. I suddenly lost a parent myself, and I can tell you that it does change you. Even if you don't realize it yet. The most important thing you can do at this point is tell him you care and be there for him to lean on when he needs you. And at some point, he will. It may not be next week, or next month. But the time will come, however subtly. You are a great friend and he is very lucky to have you. I am blessed with the friends and family that I have. Without their support, I don't think I would be the same person I am today.

Good luck with the hospice thing! Even if they don't take you, what matters is that your heart is in the right place. I think that the hospice that needs you, will find you.

Keep on being a great friend! :-)

Jenny said...

It's been a tough week. JB is such a trooper, I wish he were coming home sooner....but he will do what he needs to do...I am sending waves of love to you JB!

Sizzle, you are the most amazing friend...we appreciate and love you just as much as you do with us.

Krisco said...

My condolences also to your friend. You are wonderful to be supportive and to be willing to do Hospice volunteer work as well.

Thank you for sharing this and your thoughts about it.

amy said...

Oh how very very sad. I shall keep you all in my prayers. Many blessings. Amy

Brookelina said...

That was beautiful. My stepfather spent his last week alive in a hospice, and it was an incredible experience. I always thought they would be horribly depressing places, but they aren't at all. It was such a gift to be able to be with him in a warm and comfortable environment.

And I agree - embrace everything you have! We have been shown too many times in the last few years how time is of the essence.