I was sad last night, but it had nothing to do with Jeff or me or the anniversary of his death. I had to say good-bye to a friend who is heading back to Thailand to care for his wife until the end. The doctors’ prognoses for her have varied over the past several months, from a possible three months left to maybe a year or two, so he’s not planning on coming back any time soon. He smiled when he said good-bye, but his eyes were bleak. I cannot imagine doing what he is doing — leaving the country for an indefinite stay so he can give his wife the care she needs. It’s so very heroic. Sad, but heroic. Admittedly, he’s fine with living elsewhere, but his previous lengthy visits to other countries have been for fun and education, rather than for the heartbreaking task that is awaiting him this time. Even worse, he tries to put on a happy face since she doesn’t want anyone to be sad on her account.
I can’t help being sad over the situation because his wife is a dear sister/friend. From the beginning, although we are different nationalities, grew up on opposite sides of the globe, and had a bit of a language problem, we discovered a strong connection to each other. All I can do for either of them, the one cared for and her caregiver, is to continue looking after their house to give them one less thing to worry about.
Not wanting to feel sad (because even if the end is coming, my friend is alive and happy now despite her infirmities), I kept myself busy all day. I went for a walk, cleaned my floors, cleaned my clothes, cleaned me, fixed a nice meal (a salad and an overloaded-with-spinach frittata), and did various other small chores.
And now I am here, dumping my sadness into the ether where I have deposited so much sadness over the years.
After today, I intend to honor her wishes and think of her at home in Thailand. Happy. With her husband and family and old friends.
But first, I need to get through today.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.
March 29, 2022 at 2:57 am
You are naturally a good hearted person with compassion. I lost my soulmate before she and me realized she got cancer and it was metastasized in less than three months.
Last month she was completely lost her voice and communication. So I have accompanied her in reanimated situation and in the hospital palliative without any words. Because it was programmed with medication the doctor said the last day she was leaving today. Without conscience (I don’t know she has realized) she passed away while I was holding her hands.
The only satisfaction was I try to do my duty desperately to accompany her to her last breath holding her hand.
What I can suggest is that you can continue to give your moral support to your friends the way you naturally do. I hope peace for the couple and you.
Please take care.
March 29, 2022 at 6:55 am
It makes a big difference that you were with her at the end, both to you and to her. It’s not much consolation, I know, but you did a good thing.
March 29, 2022 at 9:59 am
I have stayed with her everyday 7/7 at the hospital reanimation and the hospital palliative. The allowed time between 8-12 hours every day. During the reanimation I had the hope. I try to talk with her or read a book. Never uttered a word that she is going to leave.
When her eyes were open I know that she was afraid and never want to leave. I took only my time to come back home to prepare myself to stay alive and look after her.
It is different somebody is in coma by an accident and there’s a hope. But here there is no return.
I have no choice than helplessly watch her and let her leaving instead of suffering. That is one of the reason I never got angry after her departure and I am exceptionally calm at home even though my heartache is the same for ever.
March 29, 2022 at 10:22 am
It’s hard watching someone die. It’s hard living afterward, too, but we do.