Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Posts in a Row about Death -- This Shouldn't Happen

Tom watched a portion of 2 Weeks with me and it prompted a short discussion about "the best way to die" (with the full understanding, of course, that there is no "good" way to die). His father died suddenly in a car accident in 2001, while my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and died four years (to the day) later, in 2004.

Ironically, shortly after we had that discussion, the phone rang. It was my father and I could tell in his voice that something was terribly wrong.

Our dear friend, Beatte, who my parents met in Germany in the early 50's before immigrating to America, and who followed a few years later and settled in Berkeley just a few blocks from my aunt Ulli, was like an aunt to me and was a huge part of my childhood. She was a healthy, active 70-something-year-old woman who loved her three children and numerous grandchildren, who traveled extensively, who loved to walk and ate healthfully, and who was an excellent and devoted classical violinist.

Yesterday, as Beatte was playing violin in a quartet in a friend's livingroom as part of a casual "concert among friends," she collapsed. She never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital. It was a massive heart attack.

This is the second time this year that a woman who is like family to Tom or me has died suddenly, with no opportunity for anyone to say goodbye.

I am so scared that this is how my father will die (though, after experiencing what Mom went through, I think he'd prefer to go this way). I guess the lesson here is to tell the people that you love how you feel about them, how much you appreciate them... and never to hold back.

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Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking that the way she went, collapsing while playing violin in a quartet at a friend's house, isn't a bad way to go really. But it is a reminder to keep my 'I love yous' current and my personal stuff in some kind of order since you never know!

Betsy said...

Oh Carol, I'm so sorry! But I'm with Lilly-- happy that her last moments were so enjoyable...


Becky said...

A friend of mine always used to say that a slow death was better for those left behind and a quick death was better for the one who is leaving. We all want the opportunity to say goodbye and tell loved ones how much they mean to us. But you are right. We should do it every chance we get. Then there are no regrets when they (or we) are gone. I say your family friend died as she lived...doing something she loved with friends who cared for her. There is some comfort there, I think.

Jen said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! And for the loss of Beatte's family. But also, I'd have to agree with Lilly.

Goofball said...

One of my favourite and best teachers and a friend of my parents died at school while dancing at a graduation party. We are all certain he would have loved to go that way.

I am sorry for your loss, but somehow I also think Beatte wouldn't have minded to go that way!

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