… When someone passes away, especially from cancer, my eyes glaze over as I turn inward and start questioning my own mortality. I feel horrible for the family, the wife, their kids… I start to worry about my own family…. I feel like a horrible person and riddled with guilt. I start to shed tears which quickly turn to uncontrollable sobbing.
With all the doctors appointments and surgery scheduling going on, cobra coming to an end, trying to find insurance for my family, all the things that need to be done and organized, not even attempting normal daily tasks… It’s the blade of straw that breaks the camel’s back….. ((a phone call comes in))
When someone passes away, most people say things like “what a shame”, “a huge loss”, “how terrible”, “he will be missed”, “at least he’s in a better place” or sometimes are just speechless…
Initially I feel those things as well, but my thoughts quickly take on a tone motivated by selfishness. There is a true sadness because you actually feel a kinship. It’s that damn club that no one wants to be in, rearing its ugly head, which grows larger in numbers by the day. But then the soul searching quickly ensues and questions of can I DO this? What have I wasted my time doing? What’s going to happen next? When? What’s making us all sick? I need to move, or my whole family will get sick. I begin a silent prayer for the families of the recently departed, but then I break down and launch a campaign for my own health and my own family’s well being in imploring prayer. I feel guilty and selfish, yet, I can’t stop myself.
With a friend beginning chemo, a friend just having finished, and one that is actually in the hospital right now, in and out of consciousness, losing the fight... I wish I could be Superman or Mighty Mouse and save them all, when the fact of the matter is I never know for sure if I can even save myself. When will I lose? I feel like a dreadful person for worrying about myself, in the midst of someone else’s pain.
Shock, devastation, empathy, compassion, sorrow, sometimes relief (the suffering is over), dismay, reality, dread, fear, loss of hope, feeling alone, what about my family? Maybe I should start packing now. But I’ll be too far away from my doctors. I hate to take my daughter away from her best friend… I’m getting a headache... Anxiety, shame, guilt, remorse, prayerful pleading….
These things all rush in during that split second and you feel you’ve hit a brick wall while you’re sitting there with your mouth hanging open in disbelief.
I truly thought I was ready and had come to terms with this kind of thing. I thought I was equipped with faith. I thought I was a strong, together person… but then I find out how truly unprepared I actually am… I still am taken by surprise.
… I just found out our long time family friend passed last night. His dedicated wife has been taking care of him, while also battling cancer herself. While his pain has halted, his family’s continues. I can’t stop thinking about her. Her pain, her struggle, her fear, and the kids… …Our friend, passed away after 10 pm on May 16th, 2010. The note forwarded to me from his wife, was touching and at the same time, truly heart wrenching.
I want to find a hole in a rainforest somewhere to crawl into…
I…. I’m out of words.
Sometimes I AM selfish, but I know I’m not the only warrior who admits to being this way.