My last post contained a touching, heart breaking message from blogging friend Meg. Since receiving that message I have tried to contact her several times (email) and have had no response. I hope and pray all is well. As to the no response, I realize she is in the midst of an extremely difficult time and I understand from my own experience. There are times when I am not feeling all that spry and just want to be left alone. There are times when energy levels just won”t let you do all you would like to. This whole dying thing can be/is upsetting and stressful. It is a private issue that ultimately we must deal with on our own terms, in our own way. I think the best that can be done at times is to just stand back allow the person their space, respect the need for privacy. BUT, at the same time ensure they know loving support is right here and available at any time. I ask please keep the loving messages of support coming to her. Meg, you are in my heart, thoughts and prayers. I/we are here for you when ever you need us.
Well, I got this far in my post stopped to run for a coffee and decided to check email when I got back. In the time I was gone in had come a reply from Meg. She has such an elequent writing style as she describes her journey,her current situation.
A situation we will all find ourselves in. Circumstances may differ but many of the feelings will be the same. Or, at least I can so easily relate. She is sharing thoughts and feelings of such a deeply personal nature, I just have to share so we may all benefit. so many of my own thoughts and feelings are described in a manner beyond any wording I could come upwith.
I read your blog and the comments left by your bloggers while i was awake during the night. the tears streamed down my face, especially at the comment along the lines of ‘holding you in my heart, wish it was my arms’. I ache for human touch, a hand to hold, an arm around my shoulders. Imagine you were locked in a room by yourself. This is no ordinary room. The walls are made of glass. You can see people walking around going by there daily business but you can’t hear them, can’t touch them, and they look through you as if you are invisible. You know that you have to stay in the room and it will get smaller and smaller each passing day until there is no room to breathe. every second of every minute of every day you yearn to be with those people you can see around you. And yet you are locked in this box, neither seen nor heard. That box is my body. Now don’t get me wrong, Bill. I take heart from the messages left in support on your blog, more than simple words on a computer screen could convey. But imagine living a life where you do not hear another human voice for days on end, where your phone never rings, where you are completely physically alone. that is my existence now. And yes, I do wonder where I went wrong for while giving myself to my patients and accompanying them on whatever journey they were embarking on in leaving this world ultimately secured them a peaceful and ‘good’ death, I came home to a silence that was deafening. when my husband died I hid in my work because the pain of grief was too much to bear. so, I am 42 and there isn’t anyone to physically hold my hand on my own final days and it has left me wondering, what have I got to live for? why am I prolonging the inevitable death that lies in the days, weeks or months ahead? And i simply don’t have an answer. i have dreams; dreams of opening my e-mail to loads of messages, so many i wonder how i will ever have time to reply, dreams even more so of coming home from the hospital or hospice and seeing the red light flashing on my answer machine, a friendly voice, someone to chat with about anything and everything, some people to share my life and theirs with, mutual love and support. Now you and Vi have come into my life and for that I am so grateful. But i am also wary of burdening you with my pain. My protective self comes to the fore and I think, ‘Bill has his own troubles and so many people to e-mail and respond to’.
Today I met with my consultants and each and every one of them cried when talking of my decision to discontinue any and all treatment and tests. I wondered who the tears were forWere they for me, for what they knew of my professional career, or for themselves in facing the death of a patient who, quite frankly, is still quite young? Each hugged me as I left but none will be there for me ‘outside of office hours’. Perhaps that is where I went wrong in my career. I was there ‘out of hours’, my most vulnerable patients had my home phone number, my mobile, my e-mail and my pager and knew they could use them whenever they needed to. Most only reached out in crisis and most talked about just having those details helped them through, how my calmness calmed them.
Today on the way home from the hospital I carried out what could be my last act on this earth in tribute to you my friend. It was a random act of kindness. There was a homeless man sitting by the bench at the entrance to the hospital when I went in. On the way out I stopped at the hospital canteen and bought him some sandwiches, a banana and a large coffee thinking that if he was there when i left I would give them to him. As I approached him I thought of you. Instead of giving him the food and coffee and heading home I gave him them and sat on the bench with him while he ate. We sat for almost two hours while he told me his story, how his life had ended up this way, his hopes, plans and dreams for the future and how he talked of the old friends lost when he was made redundant, lost his home and everything he owned and how he had made new friends who had fallen on hard times. Let me tell you there is a real sense of community spirit amongst the homeless in Edinburgh! As I went to leave he thanked me for my time and I squeezed his hand and told him it had been my privilege, an honour to share his time and hear of his life. I hope in some small way I made his day better.
So, my friend, I am sorry if this is something of a ramble. Remember to hold on tight to each other.
Kind of makes you think doesn’t it? Reading a message like this, does it help put your own problems into prospective?