Wednesday, January 7, 2009
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 fact......plus 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 one......one 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 while...you are hurting inside and that bitterness or grudge is seething.
Move past things quickly if you can.
Even if you didn't do anything wrong.
Sometimes....we must suck it up for the sake of the other person.
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."