Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Taking Leave

I received word from Kristin's sons today that she is no longer able to stand or walk on her own and that she has stopped eating.


Kristin, who I met when I was 11 and have admired and adored since, is as close to a sister as I'll ever have, and in spite of spending some amazingly wonderful moments, hours and days with her when she came to Seattle from the Bay Area for treatment over the past four years, I feel that I must now go to her, hold her and tell her how much I love her.

But how can I get to her?  I could travel in a wheelchair, right?  And if I could get to her, will she know?  And will it matter?  Or should we hold onto what we shared in the past?  To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I could handle seeing the one person who is the most FULL OF LIFE of anyone I've ever known to be slipping from life.

I'm waiting to hear from her sons again.  If she's aware enough to state a preference and if she wants me by her side, I will drop everything to be with her, just as I have done since her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in October, 2004.  If she's already in that space between this world and whatever is to follow (and as atheistic as I am, my mother's death convinced me that there's something -- something -- there), then I will leave her be, comforted by the knowledge that she knows how much I love her and how profoundly she has touched my life.

I'm so torn right now, and so incredibly sad. 

*I don't know why, but this photo that I took on Maui two years ago just seems to say it all.

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AstroYoga said...

I just thought I'd share this - don't know if it will help.

My husband, 6 month-old daughter and I arrived from Germany in Phoenix on Friday night. My grandfather was in a rehab center after a recent hospitalization. He knew we were coming because my dad had been telling him about it for months. When we went to visit him on Saturday, he was happy to see me and meet my daughter (I was surprised he even knew who I was because his mind has not been clear in the past few years). He laughed, gave my girl a nick name, and even smiled for the first time in a while.

Grandpa passed away Sunday night. It wasn't a total shock that he died, but it felt a lot like he waited to meet his newest great grandchild before letting go of the world. He was ready to go and died peacefully in his sleep.

My dad had wanted to put off that visit until Tuesday, but my mom insisted that we go. We are all grateful for my mom's insistence. We would have missed a beautiful moment of lucidity had we only thought of ourselves and the things we thought were more important to do at the time.

Carol said...


Thank you. I did read about that on your blog and was so happy you got to see your grandfather again! I thought about your post a few times already today... I appreciate the feedback!


Anonymous said...

Hi. So sorry about your friend. I'll bet she'd be fine with whatever you decide regarding seeing her. She sounds like a wonderful person who totally knows you love her.
If you decide to go, is she within driving distance? Could Tom drive you?

Childsplayx2 said...

My thoughts are with you. Whatever you decide it won't diminish the love you and your friend share.

Anonymous said...

She would know if you are there, I'm convinced of that. Just as my mother, who was in a coma, waited to die until her sons arrived. Her last words to me were "wo sind meine Kinder". When I told her my brother from Germany and my brother from Minnesota would arrive shortly, she smiled and slipped into a coma. We were all by her side when she died and I'm convinced that she knew that.

I hope you can manage to be with your friend and I hope she will slip away peacefully.

Betsy said...

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear such sad news!

You know, I tend to agree with Lilly, that your friend knows you love her, but I think the main question is: what is most important for you? You sound so conflicted about the situation-- if you don't go are you going to regret it or have peace with your decision?

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry. You should go if you feel like it would help either her or you. Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

That's so sad. And what a beautiful photo. Whether you can travel or not I think she'd love to hear those words from you.

Maria said...

Hugs friend, hugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry about this, and I know what a dilemma this can be. Especially for you right now with your foot — it makes total sense to me that if she is not able to be cognizant about your presence, then there is really no point. That's so hard, I know, especially with someone you love.

Goofball said...

I am so sorry to hear your dear friend is slipping away. Personally I find it comforting when I've been able to say goodbye. So I hope that you can make it to see her, if that's what you wish.

wendy said...

How very sad. and I believe there is SOMETHING, something....something out there ----where she will one day be and be happy. That puts sunshine where there sometimes seems like so much darkness. I am glad you had such a friend.

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