Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Dying is lonely


I heard something one time that went something like this: “sometimes one of the loneliest places in the world can be when you are in a room full of people.” If we think about that I think we can all understand that at least to some extent. Imagine you are invited to attend a huge party or celebration of some sort, hundreds of people will be there and if for some reason you have to go alone. suppose you know no one at the party, how are you likely to feel? At times shere numbers can be over whelming. Others may go out of their way to try to welcome you. You may realize all the others there are close friends with whom you have nothing in common. It can be a lonely place to be you can feel the odd man out. Having something in common is at least a good starting point in being able to strike up a conversation. having something in common will allow that conversation with someone that has some knowledge or understanding of of the subject you are discussing.

What if you are dying? Who can you talk to then? Now, I do not mean in any way for this to slight or insult all the wonderful loving care givers out there. What you are doing is fantastic, please keep it up. Your help and support means more than you will ever know.

It is just if you are dying, that thought can play a prominent role in your mind. Some times you just need to talk about it. All those around you may be the most wonderful,loving caring people you can imagine. All trying to be as loving and as supportive as possible and yes I am sure you can talk to them. It is just no matter how hard they try they can’t truly empathize which what you are going through. When it comes right down to it, what you are going through is a private, individual journey of life. But, if you can talk to another person in your situation, they will at least have a better understanding and be able to relate to some of those thoughts and feelings that can haunt us.

I know that feeling of loneliness very well. I am so very blessed to have the blog here. I can express my thoughts and feelings and have received the loving support of so many. I will be eternally grateful

I have recently put up a couple of posts about a lady I have been conversing with. Yes again, this is the lady with the hot air balloon ride and the cooking lessons. Her name is Meg and after some coaxing and encouraging she had joined us here on the blog.

She speaks so well of the loneliness of dying in a comment yesterday. Now I do know for a fact many don’t always read the comments left and that is such a shame. In those comments is so much more than I can ever offer. Because of this I am posting Meg’s comment as part of todays post.

“November 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm  (Edit)

Hi

I am the woman who has been in contact with Bill for the last eight months.  I have been humbled by his generosity of spirit and time since I first came across his blog and I see that same generosity reflected in the comments left by those who visit his blog.

i wonder how many people who still inhabit the world of the living, rather than the living-dying, can truly appreciate what Bill and his blog has given to those of us in the last stages of our life.  I doubt it – try mentioning death in casual conversation and then sit back and watch the ensuing fidgeting and discommfort and unease.  I think the dying process is one of the best kept secrets we have in our world.  It saddens me for at a time when connections and relationships are so important it sometimes feels we suffer a ‘social’ death long before our biological bodies draw their last breath.

I have spent my professional career working with people who are dying and my own biggest fear was never death itself but dying alone, not just physically alone but emotionally alone if people in my life were unable to accompany me into the void if their own fear of death overwhelmed them.  I have no family and when my husband died I threw myself into my work as it was the only part of me I felt safe in.  Now I find myself facing my own certain death and although I am physically alone, Bill and his blog had brought me a comfort that mere words on a page could never convey.

Sharing my dying process and engaging with Bill in his dying process has given me a sense that I matter and I will be missed, personally.

I am so grateful for the kindness and warmth that saturates the comments left in response to Bill posting my e-mail and will treasure each as a precious memory that will give me a longed for buffer during the journey that lays ahead.  Who knows, perhaps I can develop some friendships here amongst like minded people who ‘get’ this whole dying thing from the inside.

with love to all who share Bill’s blog and bask in his kindness, openness and warmth – truly one of the worlds ‘good eggs’

meg

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7 Responses to Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Dying is lonely

  1. Well written Bill and Meg. Grief has been a lonely place but I often think back to what my dad said, and all he did not, about how it felt to be dying. It is true that when you are terminally ill people sometimes see you as a reminder of all they are trying to hide from and hoping to forget. I was incredibly proud of my dad for noting the elephant in the room one day – someone was talking about how awkward they felt talking about the fact that dad was dying and dad simply replied ‘how do you think I feel about it?’…

  2. souldipper says:

    As we have been taught in Hospice: listen, listen, listen. Welcome, Meg. I’m so glad you have found the courage to allow Bill to share your beautiful words.

  3. Hilary says:

    Hi Bill and Meg – you’ve offered something here .. that we need to remember and help with in whichever way we can .. in this instance I wasn’t thinking of your particular selves .. but all those elderly confined to a Home/Nursing Centre – who probably have a slower time and are probably not articulating themselves very clearly as they don’t have a choice .. and family and friends who visit possibly don’t engage that way.

    It’s given me food for thought – not easy thoughts – as my mother is confined to bed now nearly into her fifth year … and she can and does think. I’ve spent a great deal of time with her .. but obviously I need to be there now even more and I hope I can rise to this challenge.

    Thanks so much .. my thoughts to you both … I have lost my uncle in this time too – fortunately he went via the Hospice and the Nursing Centre (where my mother is) … I did my best at the time for him during the last two years of his life …

    Be peaceful … you are not alone nor will be … I can understand another ‘facet’ of life so much better now … thank you.

  4. Freda says:

    Just a short comment to say thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments on death and dying – (or should that be life and living?) You are an inspiration and help to take some of the fear away. Every Blessing

  5. Mel says:

    Bill–

    It’s the pleasure of others TO be present in your life, at this juncture with circumstances exactly as they are today.
    You’re right. We have loads of professional folks who feel a passion and a hearts desire to BE of service to others who are struggling with some bit of their life/or death process–but there’s a powerful thing that happens when folks with ‘like struggles’ share space and their stories/messages. There’s a connectedness that gets to happen that good hearted folks can’t quite reach. That’s not an offense to those people–they’re driven, they’re passionate and they’re whole being is into service to others. I love them passionately and with my whole heart. There’s truth in ‘kindred spirits’ who are traveling same paths…and the power that earns them in the life of other travelers.
    I’m good with that–I believe others honour that and don’t feel ‘slighted’ or ‘less than’. It’s a privilege kindred spirits get, I guess.
    It’s good to have that connectedness. It’s good to find rest in knowing there’s someone who ‘gets it’, who’s lived it/is living it. I’m grateful (another small word hugely felt) for a meeting place for those who NEED a connectedness. And I’m relieved and proud for Meg to have taken that leap in faith with you….with us.

    Seriously–I’ve read this post multiple times and no matter what words I try to put together…..it’s just not adequate.

    Yes.
    Dying is a lonely time.
    I think we help make it lonely sometimes. I tried to be in control a lot–tried to ‘spare others’, tried to keep what I believed would be ‘additional stress’ off of me, tried to control the reactions of others, tried to make sure I had it ‘packaged’ just so…so folks would stick around, tried to lie and bluff and con my way through it…..alone…for some time. And yes–lonely. It was a small price to pay to be around people. I “knew” if they knew the truth, they’d head for the hills and I’d truly be alone. Who’da thought that if I JUST let others BE present for me, if I just told the truth……some folks WOULD handle it and still stick around. And yes…some folks would head for the closest hill.
    It’s okay that they did. It’s just where they were at.
    There were also some who would stick around.

    We GET to be here for each other.
    I know that’s a privilege, so I treat it like the privilege it is.
    And it’s my privilege to share here..with you.
    And with Meg.
    And with anyone else.
    Cuz.

    I really, really, really feel passionate that. But you know that.

    ((((((((((( Bill )))))))))))

    *kicks the soapbox*

    I’m hoping Aunt Isabel is doing better.

  6. Noel says:

    Bill and Meg, thank you for the reminder about the importance of recognizing the process of dying. I cannot imagine what it’s like to feel this kind of loneliness. I often think about the limitation of life, even though we all like to live this life as if we are immortal, we all eventually have to face the cold reality of death. We don’t like to talk about it, but we must. It is imperative to learn how to feel more comfortable with this fact of life (or death). Instead of learning more about how to live, we should learn how to die.

  7. Lenore Diane says:

    Thank you Bill and Meg, I appreciate your honesty and transparency. I have the same feeling when it comes to death – as in the loss of a loved one.
    When my Dad died, I wanted to talk about it with anyone who would listen. Talking helped me cope – talking helped ease the sense of loss. However, I noticed my friends who had not lost a loved one were uneasy with talking about my loss. One friend avoided me – until she lost a loved one. Once she could relate – she, too – wanted to talk.
    Losing my Dad enlightened me to the uneasiness that comes from a gentle state of ignorance. When my friend’s mother was dying, I made every effort to talk to my friend about her Mom’s pending death. We talked often – actively – and I believe it helped my friend.
    No one wants to feel alone – lending an ear is a wonderful gift.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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