Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Moving Onward

Coming into 2009 has been good.
Although, we have already heard of and have dealt with heartaches and tragedy.
It's only 7 days into the New Year.

I knew it would happen though.
There is no "avoiding" the process of life.
And of death.

Time waits for no man"...just like the quote says.
So we must stop for IT sometimes.

Last night we stopped what we were doing.......and then we ran.

We had gotten a call from my friend Denise's daughter that the Hospice people thought she had about "2 hours left."
My husband and I changed our clothes (because we were both in our PJ's) and we ran out of our house.

Denise was diagnosed with two malignant brain tumors right before Thanksgiving and went into the hospital to have a biopsy which not only confirmed that she always suffered a stroke during the process of the biopsy.

She was 49 years old.

**Now let me back up a few years...........**

My husband and I had not seen my friend Denise in years.

Her and her husband were friends of ours a long time ago.

But some things had changed in our lives and we moved......
and some things were changing in their lives while we were gone and they started down a sad path which eventually ended in divorce and much heartache.

Somewhere along the way.....I had received a phone call with some news about a situation that had happened and I wrote Denise and begged her to rethink some things in her life. I warned her.

And through time she became bitter.
Not only towards others.....but also against me.
That's just how it works. She wasn't an evil person...she was a damaged and hurt person.

I had only seen her once since moving back to Baton Rouge and we ran into each other by accident. Which was no accident. If you know what I mean.

She had fallen by the wayside.

A few weeks ago.....we received a call from a mutual friend of ours telling us that Denise had received this double brain tumor report.

He had her phone number and I knew I had to call her. I hadn't spoken to her in nearly 4 years again. And not for any reason other than we had "lost" her once more somehow.
She had "fallen off the planet" as I call it.... and I didn't know how to find her.

So I when I was given her phone number I called her.

Of course I was scared..and worried that she might hang up on me or be mean and lash out at me....especially since I knew she had just been handed this horrible news.
But I did it anyway.

One of the very FIRST things she told me on the phone was.....
"You know I've held a GRUDGE against you."
To which I replied......."I know it. And I am so sorry, but I think it's time to let it go and let's move on, none of it really matters any more does it?"
And she agreed and she did just that....she letting those things that bothered her GO.

From that point....we pressed on.
Because NONE of it did matter any longer. In light of life, in light of eternity.
"That thing" that had offended her.....became nothing.

In situations like this can stay "bitter or you can become BETTER."

And Denise choose better. In MORE WAYS than just one.
And I am so glad.
Because we have been able to be by her side during this very hard process.
She needed us and we needed to be there for her.

Through this short period we've been able to be open and honest and to talk candid with each other.
There wasn't time for anything less.

Especially sad was the fact that Denise lost all means of communicating pretty much while she was still in the hospital.

Though she tried and tried to speak...we usually could never make out what she was saying and it was so frustrating.
Eventually...once she was moved to the Hospice Unit....all she could do would be open her eyes or to blink. On occasion she could slightly nod her head. She was so frail and weak.

During this time there was no reason to cover up things and act as if......"I'm fine."

I'm so grateful that all the "masks" were removed.

Denise died last night and my husband and I were at her bedside when she took her last breath.

It was both an honor and a privilege to be included at such an intimate time in ones life.

And it was precious.
Don't misunderstand me when I say that because death certainly is NOT pretty, nor glamorous.
It is what it is.
An ending and a new beginning....
And it was bittersweet....because we were sad she was going yet, we were thrilled that she was going and all her earthly pain and sorrow was going to be over once and for all.

I'm so happy I was there. I'm so glad that SHE gave us that opportunity.

Life truly IS "just a vapor."
And it is more fragile than we realize.

Please don't hold grudges or hold unforgiveness in your heart against someone.

Don't let anyone make you so bitter that you can't have a great life.

You see, I knew she felt that way but I couldn't change it so I moved on in life. And she was still holding all that. It didn't effect me. But it affected her.

That is how those things work. The person your upset with.....doesn't even know it half the time. All the are hurting inside and that bitterness or grudge is seething.

Move past things quickly if you can.
Mend fences
Even if you didn't do anything wrong.
Sometimes....we must suck it up for the sake of the other person.
Be bigger.
And let it go.

Believe me....I've had to do these things in my life too.
I've had to go back to someone and forgive them and let things go.
We ALL get wounded in life.
I've been wounded.
AND sadly....I've wounded others.

Sometimes you let go of things...and the other person/persons don't.
Just do what you can. God knows.

In the long run....YOU will be BETTER because of it and when you leave this earth, you won't have any regrets.

I told Denise goodbye over a week ago. Even though I continued to go see her.
She fought a really good fight....right to the end.

I was so proud of her.
Not for just dying valiantly....

But for having made decisions weeks ago to "let all those things in the past go" and being able to leave the earth with out any baggage in her heart or her hands.

In the end.....I am so relieved that her "journey" on this earth is over....and I am so glad I "made that call."


Teresa @ Southern Touch Catering said...

Thank you for including us in this beautiful sentiment to your dear friend. I have a similar situation going on with my momma right now- except we aren't mad with each other, see is dying though. It's so very hard to be brave. Your message today helps.

My Vintage Studio said...

I read your post this morning and cried while reading. Holding grudges is a slow death in life I think, only causing hurt and quilt in the end of one's life.

Your friend was very lucky to have you and DH with her at the end of her life. Thank you from her.

The Urban Chic said...

Joyce, thank you for letting me know. Please, if you have time, let me know where she will be. I may know her brother by face.
I just went through the same thing, being with someone you love when they die and it's both a sad and joyous thing because you know they are no longer suffering. You have the greatest heart. Big hugs and prayers, Pat

Valentine Hearts said...

Thinking of you x

Denise said...

Oh how timely this is...... I am finishing up a post about forgiveness of my Dad and sister.... How bitterness hurts our life.... This is such a sweet story and now Denise is with the Father..... we never know how we touch lives....... we must be vigilant to be about the Fathers business......

Patrice Palmer said...

Thank you for wtiting this. It comes at a time in which I may have to see someone who did something terribly cruel to me. It's difficult to face those who wronged you, yet I can see how freeing letting go of this hurt could me. I am sorry for your loss.

The Urban Chic said...

Joyce, I am stuck in bed today and will explain later. You will all be in my prayers today. Please give the family my condolences. Prayers for all of you. Hugs, Pat

Susie Harris said...

Oh Joyce. Your post is just beautiful. Thank you. Im so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. I agree that you just need to let go...forgive..and love. Life is too short and you saw that first hand. Take care and ((hugs ))to you. Susie

Patrice Palmer said...

Thank you for posting your comment on my blog. I truly appreciated what you said and hope your son and friends will all be fine. This economy is so difficult to deal with, especially when homes and jobs are lost. Take care.

IsabellasCloset said...

Joyce, I'm in tears over your post. I so very sorry that Denise has passed away. What a besutiful post about her. God bless you & your husband for being at her side.
When you are up to it please stop by my blog, I have an award for you.
God bless you for caring as much as you do!
Hugs & much love ~Mary~
She i

Sonja said...

Surely, God saw all the woeful misery, the pain, the suffocating spiritual darkness and ignorance, but HE also beheld the sure resulting VICTORIES and a certain number of REDEEMED, emerging as "heirs of God" and "joint heirs" with Christ, coming forth in the image of the creator himself.
This is a quote from the book "Our Glorious Inheritance" by Mike Shreve.
Your friend, in her brokenness, obviously learned some tough lessons on forgiveness...what SWEET victory however for you to be "joint heirs with Christ" to once again journey with her in her deepest time of need! Her VICTORY to overcome and now be IN THE PRESENCE of the Lord is much sweeter.
Oh, how we NEED to KNOW the Lord, KNOW HIM personally, it is KNOWING HIM that we move and have our being.
My thoughts are with you and the family of your friends as you "walk out" missing your precious sister. Though you know she is with our Father in Heaven yet still the body of Christ as a whole has been hit with a void the night she passed on...His faithfulness to allow her life to be used to teach us all that are still here, will prevail to the Glory of His Name.


Julie said...

What a moving post, Joyce. I am so glad you had the opportunity to spend your friend's last days on this earth with her.