Dying Man’s Daily Journal – out living expiry date


Over the past several months I have had the pleasure of exchanging emails with a gentleman in a very similar situation to my own. Our medical ailments are different but our overall condition is the same in that we are both years past what doctors guesstimated to be our expiry dates.

Our way of thinking and dealing with this whole situation at least similar. We do not want to be a burden and we want to at least try to make this whole process as easy as possible on those around us. Issues are minimized, blown off as no big deal. “I am fine with all of this, don’t worry about me.”.
He is almost 5 years past his doctor projected expiry date. In that 5 years he has faced and over come major medical obsticals. Each time minimizing the seriousness of his condition. Now I can so easily relate to him saying “each medical hoop you jump through takes a lot out of you”. It becomes harder and harder to put on the “don’t worry, I am fine face”
It has reached the point when He knows the end is really nearing. He just does not feel he has the energy to clear the next medical obstacle put before him.
I had to go to email to get the wording: “I have been dying for so long that my family has become so used to the idea it is almost like now it is no big deal to them. Now is when I need the support. Have they lived with this idea for so long they have become immune to feelings about it?”
Thoughts anyone?

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5 Responses to Dying Man’s Daily Journal – out living expiry date

  1. Julie WInterton says:

    No, the family isn’t so use to this dying process that they aren’t recognizing it. As a family member who helped a father live past his expiration date, and battle hurtle after hurtle, when the time got near, we tried to honor our dad by pretending it was no big deal. That is what he had communicated he wanted to have happen. Inside, we were dying too. We’d just deal with this hurtle and move on. He never wanted to be a burden (and he could NEVER have been a burden – because we loved him) but when he lost strength- We tried to reflect what he had been showing us. “It’s no big deal.” There came a point when he was critically sick. After violently thowing up, he looked up from the bathroom floor, with tear filled eyes, and said, “I’m not going to make it till Christmas.” It was the only time he ever showed fear, worry, and doubt that he wouldn’t survive. That was his que to us that we needed to step in more. I LOVED caring for my father, right up to the end. It was my privilege. Your friend may need to ‘que’ his family in that he has reached a new plato (one a few steps down) and that he needs them. They will LOVE him FOREVER for asking for the help. It will allow his family to find peace when he is gone that they met his needs and cared for him in a manner pleasing to him. It’s all about communication. Thanks for sharing.
    hi Julie, welcome to the blog and I do hope we will hear more from you. Your comment contains both wisdom and just plain old common sense. I sincerely applaud you for being there for your father as you were. I can only imagine that time together ultimately proved to be a blessing for you both. Having said that I am sorry for your loss.
    Sorry, it has taken me a few days to respond. I have exchanging emails with Paul, he also thanks you for your comment, it does help to clarify the thinking process. I think this is an important issue. I am going to attempt a post on it. Thank you again. Please check your email
    Bill

  2. M T McGuire says:

    I absolutely get the brave face thing. It must be very, very hard… Thinking of you.

    Hey there BC, and thank you

  3. Mel says:

    (435,962 hits)

    What a beautiful share from Julie Winterton. (thank you for that Julie) And I think the point she was making, was well illustrated in her story.

    I do think we plug along and try to control the emotional toll on the people we care about. And in a way, that’s a bit of control for us as well. It’s exhausting to have to deal in the facts and your own emotional stuff accompanied with each loss (because health changes are losses to contend with)–trying to buffer that for the family is only natural. Less for them to contend with is less for you to contend with. At least externally. It’s something I tried desperately to do with the kiddos in my life–only to later discover that the ‘brave face’ put on for me in kind.. didn’t really exist. I’m grateful they had places to go to share those thoughts and feelings on an ‘as needed basis’.
    Living in that acute awareness doesn’t have to rob you of normality and routines that are comforting for the family and for you. And when that process of dying gifts you with a length of time, it’s bound to bounce in and out of ‘crisis’ as you’re dealing with each loss. I’m pretty clear the bottom line doesn’t get erased from the memory of the people who love you. They know they’re going to lose you, they want to help maintain that sense of normalcy and routine, too. Letting them know what you need, letting them know what’s ‘different’ today, cue them (as Julie shared) so they know it’s somehow different–but I don’t think they’ve ‘forgotten’ they ever forget the bottom line. Mine never did.

    That being said–how cool that you and the other fella are able to share some of this journey and have a connection today. That’s awesome–for the both of you!
    ah, Mel as usual you comment contains both wisdom and insight into such a difficult human situation. It is exhausting for all involved. There are times when we need a break from the reality of the moment by making the effort to maintain as much normalcy as possible in our lives.
    For all involved it is such a deeply painful and very personal time. We all deal with it in our own way. I am going to try get up a post on this, your input will be appreciated.
    Mel, I thank you for your on going support. Your wisdom, your willingness to share have caused me to have a sort of image of you in my mind. I picture you as almost some sort of guru perched high atop a mountain. Lines of wisdom seekers daily making the slow long climb up that mountain seeking an audience

  4. Mel says:

    ROFL. Uh huh, atop the mountain with my bubble gun, inviting anyone and everyone to come play with me!! LOL. You’re such a sweetheart Bill. I’d let you colour my sidewalk with chalk any day! Even with the happy yellow chalk. Especially with the happy yellow!!! ;-)
    Mel, There you are perched atop a mountain, while I struggle with a flight of stairs. I guess we will just have to continue communication going this way. I am very happy with that

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