A Personal Note
In October of 2011 the person I loved and shared my existence with for nine years passed away due to cancer. It took about a year and a half after her original diagnosis, and several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, before it became clear she was not going to make it short of a miracle. At that point we both agreed that further medical treatment was dangerous and not worthwhile. Being ever hopeful, we kept our fingers crossed we’d discover a gentler, alternative therapy, but our main focus became quality of life and enjoying the moments we had left. In that remaining period we made many decisions and preparations to ensure that what happened after her passing would be smooth. As K had consistently made clear, she wanted her going to be “burdenless” to me and her family. We decided to go through the dying process at home and I agreed to be the primary care giver.
Yet, even with the careful preparations, what I experienced in the remaining months of her life was unlike anything I expected. And, if that wasn’t enough, what I experienced after her departure was a major shock. I was naïve as to what our decisions really entailed and despite our proactively asking doctors and the hospice it never became entirely clear to me until we were in the thick of it. As amazing and beautiful as so much of the process was, it was also immensely overwhelming. I realized during the time I was caring for her, and especially afterwards, that many of my friends and acquaintances were probably like me, vaguely aware of what was ahead of them when faced with end of life situations. I wondered how many were taking time to discuss and understand it.
Thinking about the people I knew I felt strongly to communicate my experience and create this blog site as a way to express what I learned, provide an outlet for others to write about this subject and to offer links and information from professional sources.
My hope is that this site may encourage someone to take the time to talk about and prepare for dying – and to do it when their loved ones are alert and able to communicate. Whether it be a spouse, parents, grown children, friend, significant other, etc., I can assure you that you’ll never regret the time you take to discuss this subject with them. It may not be easy, but the discussion, planning and research you do now will result in a more conscious and beautiful period of departure.