sad thoughts…

30 Jan
One day mom called me up to tell me that a childhood friend was dying of pancreatic cancer.  Our families were friends and even though he was older we spent a lot of time together as kids.  I made plans to head down and pick up mom and go see him at the palliative care center.
When we arrived his mom was there as she was most days, morning til night.  We visited for a few minutes and then he asked our moms to give us a couple of minutes.  Once they were gone we started talking.  He asked about what had happened to me and I told him about the heart attack, stroke and diagnosis of my rare disease.  He asked if when I found out the what caused my events, was I glad it wasn’t anything I had done.  No one had ever asked me that but I already knew the answer – yes!  He smiled and said to me – I was scared whatever was wrong with me was because of something I had done to myself, and now no one can judge me.
We continued talking for a bit and starting talking about the fact that he was going to die, and how he needed to talk about it but his mother refused to even go there, and no one else in the family dared to say anything about it in front of her.  That he was glad I came because he knew I would talk about it with him and that was the reason he had sent our moms away.  Then he asked me if “it” would be easy.  That shocked me because I don’t think I had ever told mom about how I felt myself slipping away the night of the heart attack and if my friend had not called, I think I would have slipped away completely as my doctor said I should not have survived.  And that was the only way he would have known, but somehow he knew I had come that close.  So I thought for a couple of minutes and reflected and told him that at a certain point it is easy, and that it would be easy for him too when it was time.  
And later driving home from visiting, I thought about the first part of the conversation about being glad we were not at fault.  Still to this day people assume I caused my heart attack and stroke – until they find out I have a different disease but on first contact I feel judged.  In the hospital it was even worse before my disease was diagnosed.  People assumed.
My childhood friend passed away just a couple of weeks later.  I am glad I took the time to reconnect – I hope it helped him and I knew it was easy for him at the end because I had a feeling come over me one Friday evening and in my mind I knew it had been easy and he was gone.  A couple of days later mom called me to tell me he had passed away Friday evening, exactly when I had the feeling come over me.
Assuming things about another person is a trap we all fall into, but if we try to walk a mile in their shoes, perhaps we can become less judgemental and more caring. 

Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


9 responses to “sad thoughts…

  1. Von

    January 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

    So true and so glad you got to visit.
    May I quote you on the industry from Campbell’s post? Couldn’t find an email address to ask you there.


  2. cb

    January 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I’m glad you were able to be talk to him, it sounds like the conversation benefitted you both. I am glad he was able to go in peace.

    “Assuming things about another person is a trap we all fall into, but if we try to walk a mile in their shoes, perhaps we can become less judgemental and more caring.”

    I just wanted to say though that even if someone may have “contributed in some way” to their illness; I don’t think it is up to us judge that either, especially if we don’t know the full story.


  3. The adopted ones

    January 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Von – quote away.

    CB – you are right we should not judge in either case – I just really noted a difference when some thought I caused it…even one went so far as to keep telling me what I had to change after the diagnosis, but by then I had enough words to set him straight…


  4. shadowtheadoptee

    January 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Don’t know what to say…just adding support.


  5. Kim

    February 1, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Sorry for the loss of your friend. I echo the sentiments above: glad you were there and willing to go to that hard place with him when he needed to talk about what was really happening.


  6. The adopted ones

    February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm


    Growing up in my family with dad as a doctor, death was part of the cycle of life. Not something you wanted to happen but something that happened and you might as well deal with it head on. I imagine knowing that helped him start the conversation.


  7. Margie

    February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I’m very sorry that you have lost your friend, but glad you were able to reconnect as you did.

    People have a need to validate themselves, and are happy to judge others in the process. A little humility is generally a good antidote, but humility isn’t exactly a valued characteristic in this day and age. How sad that people feel empowered to judge you as they do.


  8. Dannie

    February 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Sorry to hear about the loss of a friend. I’m glad you had those moments. Very special even if sad. Your last paragraph reminds me of the peace both my mother and I felt when my grandmother passed a year and a half ago.


  9. Raven

    February 2, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I’m so glad you were there for your friend at the end of this part of his journey. So many people in our society are afraid of death…afraid of dying…and so often, people with terminal illnesses aren’t able to talk about what they’re going through.

    My dad was a lifelong smoker—and he ended up getting terminal lung cancer. The ironic thing is the type of lung cancer he had was the one type that ISN’T caused by tobacco. Still, he was blamed by pretty much everyone for his own illness and death. It was infuriating to see that happen to my father. I was glad for one thing, though: we were able to talk about his dying, and I think it helped both of us. I had a full-blown near-death experience when I was a young adult, and I think some of the stuff I learned on the “other side” helped my dad when it was his turn to go. He died a very peaceful death, surrounded by his entire family…including his firstborn grandchild, my son, who had been lost to adoption twenty years before.



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