Recently I was told my friend has cancer and was given approximately 2 months to live. Well, 2 months is just a number and no one can say for sure how long someone will live. I reacted with shock, dismay, sadness then the realization that time is limited and if I want to see my friend it needs to be soon. Our friendship has been 25 years or more, we stay connected but not on a weekly or monthly basis.
Seeing my friend with a skeleton of a body, big eyes and sunken in cheeks was sad for me. I was composed, talked about how I care and will miss our times together; we laughed about some of the silly journeys life has taken us on and shed the odd tear. I did my best to control most of my tears and had more tearful sad moments after I was home.
I have since spent time as a caretaker to help the family. I feel a little selfish with this duty; I get to spend time alone with my friend. We share stories and my friend talks about things that can’t be said to others, perhaps for fear of upsetting them or sensing others won’t want to hear what is being said. Expressions of sadness for the family being left behind, regrets, wishing some things could be different and coming to terms with the fact the best that could have been done at the time was done, given the way life was.
Life will soon be different for all concerned and for my friend who realizes and accepts the ending of this life and at the same time believes there is something better to come.
I share this part of my journey with you to encourage you to be supportive of the people in your life who may be near the end of life. Learn from them, be a good listener and most of all tell them you love them if that is what you feel.
Every one of us can be a student and a teacher at some time in this journey of life to death.
Share your stories.