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Started by Wingman
15 Mar 2016, 5:14 PM

I am Wingman.

Some of you know that my friend is batteling terminal cancer. She has no family and I go to as many appts as I can. Upon her diagnosis I started to search around and reading shared experiences of loved ones losing loved ones. For some reason it never occurred to me that I would bear witness to it myself. Stupid girl.

My grandmother is 98. She is remarkable and we are close. Her health, mental and physical has been near perfect. She walks with a walker at times- still reads the paper and lives as you and I.
Last Thursday she fell suddenly ill in the middle of dinner. Today is Tuesday and the palliative doctor just left.

I know, 98 right. Had to have seen that coming- and yet I am blindsided. Iive 2.5 hours away and have been back and forth, for some reason needing to be part of this process. With all I have read and understood, I was, I am, not prepared.

I have shared little of the details with my terminal I'll friend back home. She asks a bit and while we have been very communicative regarding her cancer I cannot share my experiences. There have been positive moments with grandma- precious and treasured, and there have been remarkable and haunting moments.

I am watching her die. For all I have read I have been profoundly amazed at what instead I now see. 

The restlessness, the comfort, the communication, the rosary.

I have brought music to her room, I have gathered treasure from her these last few days.

The doctor has just been in and I feel something official in that for unexplained reason. I suppose we all need validation to the things we know but at the same time gaze right through.

The family has a schedule for every 24 hours, she has not been alone for an instant nor will she.

And so I suppose I will start the drive home and continue to pray for her peace.
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Reply by Carlyn
16 Mar 2016, 6:35 PM

Hi Wingman,

I'm very sorry. I don't know how to say or if I should say. Your situation resonates because my parents were fine one day and the next they both fell for different reasons and spent the next month dying at the same time. Having two loved ones with different things, both apparently on a runway to leave this earth, as a witness...it's a lot.

I share this only to say I think I understand and you're doing what you can and that's all you can do. Handle this the way you need to for all concerned. I learned most of that after the fact, the moments I wished I paid more attention, more focus, took it all in, what was happening. There is being there physically and there is being there engaged in each moment without anyone noticing you're taking it in and ready to respond to help if needed. It's a balance because we want the focus on our loved ones, not us. So your situation resonates. You're in it but it's not about you and you don't want to fail anyone or miss anything either.

Sending supportive thoughts to you. I'm grateful to you for sharing this time and allowing us all to offer support or just company. If nothing else, company is worth a lot at times, virtual or real.

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Reply by Wingman
17 Mar 2016, 2:10 AM

Carolyn, I wrote a long process of.my thoughts in response to your words, and the whole thing erased.
So condensed: my grandmother met Jesus just after 6 tonight. Your story is remarkable and I thank you for your wise thoughts.
Perhaps this event will open to a conversation of death and wishes with my friend. I have not shared with her my feelings and thoughts- my experiences over the last 4 days.

My first draft was much better, but as Feeling at times overwhelmed- I appreciate how we can draw on the sharing of experience from others.
And so I thank you for sharing and understanding.

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Reply by KathCull_admin
17 Mar 2016, 2:15 AM

Dear Wingman
My sympathy to you. The picture you painted of your family making sure someone was with her all the time sounds very comforting to me. You were all there,including your grandmother)for her and each other.

wingman, I too have lost conversations - erased into thin air by no fault of my own. I have found that if I type what I want to say in a word document and then paste it into the reply box it is more reliable. I know tho that some are using an iPad - which may not work.

Thinking of you this evening Wingman.

Carlyn so glad to see you back - I know this has been a busy time with leaving your home. I am sorry you have been unwell too. Sending warm thoughts your way. 
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Reply by debbie123
20 Mar 2016, 1:49 PM

I am so sorry for your loss.  My mom passed away DEc 23rd and i am still in pain ..missing her daily..and felt so alone except for these amazing people on this site who helped me get through it as i am still trying to manage. My mom was never sick in her life and all of a sudden she had stage 4 cancer ??  crazy...8 months later shes gone.  Not an ache in her body before and then it all fell apart.  She always went to the doctor for her check ups too.  I know it hurts and no words can explain the pain one feels.  I was there almost every second and my mom was not alone either.  We had hospice there but always a family member there as well .  We took turns but i was there aside from when i had to go to work all the time .  I took time off to be with her.  My boss was amazing like that.  I was there whjen she took her last breathe and i am thankful i was able to be with her even though i begged her to not leave me.  I shouldnt of made it so hard i see now but she was my life.  You can not help what comes out of your mouth.  She understood me and i dream of my mom often now.  I am lucky for the dreams i experience at night.  I want you to know i am here and i manage to get through the days keeping busy...getting fresh air and my job .  THats what i do now.  I went through an angry stage for a couple weeks but i am ok now.  Things that you have to get out of your system is all.  Well i have to go but i will pray for you and your family.  Hopefully you are not alone when it comes to family beging there.  I know what thats like and its sad but that to i got through.  Takecare and know we are all here to listen:-)  Hugs sent to you and your family.
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Reply by KathCull_admin
25 Apr 2016, 3:41 PM

Wingman, I was reminded of your grandmother yesterday. A member of the choir I sing in announced that she and her family were planning a birthday party for her 99 year old mother. The party will include lots of friends and family, food and music.

I hope that your grandmother's peace continued as your family supported her and the music played.

debbie123, I haven't talked to you in a bit - how are you doing? There is a new site that you might find useful mygrief.ca - the site was developed by the Canadian Virtual Hospice. You need to create an account to start with - separate from the discussion forums.

Carlyn, 'a runway to leave this earth' - I love words and I really like these ones. Thank you

Take care all
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Reply by Carlyn
30 Apr 2016, 12:17 AM

Hello everyone, i'm sorry i've been absent quite a while. 

Dear Wingman, my condolences to you on the loss of your Grandmother. It's over a month since and I wonder, how are you doing? I've just logged in and will see if you are checking in a more recent thread. My thoughts are with you.

Katherine, thank you very much for your continued thoughtfulness and kindness. I sincerely appreciate it and it does help quite a lot. I am trying to check in just now finally and hope to see how you are in other threads so won't pry here. It's spring season now so I hope the weather at least is easing for most of us.

Debbie123, it's really good to see you here. Your experiences with dreams sound comforting. I'm glad you have them. Time seems to go so fast; I appreciate you speaking to the various emotional states too.

I hope the weekend is a good one for us all.

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Reply by KathCull_admin
02 Jul 2016, 1:59 AM

Wingman I have been thinking about you the last few weeks. Hope all is well for you and your pony. Thinking about your friend too. Take care.

Carlyn - I think about you too.

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Reply by Carlyn
08 Jul 2016, 1:39 AM

Hi Katherine,

It's nice to connect a bit. I popped in to check if anyone had updated and wanted to connect. I hope everyone is okay, all varying states of our situations considered.

Katherine, there's a lot of extra sites now and it's so impressive. It's wonderful. I hope this is a nice bit of new change for you to enjoy.

For me, health doesn't like it when things like moving homes happens so it's been a bit of a road with that here. Also, June is a reflective month here - deceased sister's birthday, Mom's death and sister's death, all in June. This year has been some extra grief as I've sort of reclaimed my own life in a way I needed to but that meant letting others go. Many reasons for this but it's all healthy decisions and made with help of my doctor. These health issues are all consuming. Giving up a full house for a condo is such a relief too. Condo is much much easier and worth it. Wish I hadn't wavered on this decision so long.

Living with illness is something I don't think i'll ever fully get used to. I'm just trying to coast with it and make the right decisions so health is as stable as possible and I can keep some quality of life.

Katherine, how are you? I've kept you in my thoughts too. Trying to think positive for all of us and sort of hope it reverberates somehow through thoughts and words. What's on for summer? Any vacations planned? 

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Reply by KathCull_admin
10 Jul 2016, 2:09 AM

Thank you for your warm and postiive thoughts Carlyn. Especially when I know your plate has been full as well. The first 6 months of this year have been busy for you. I am glad you are finding the condo is a good fit. It takes time to make decisions and moving house is a big one. Especially when it is tied to so many memories in life and anniversaries. I am contemplating downsizing in the next few years and have to say thoughts of a smaller place bring a feeling of relief. But like you all in good time.

I am glad your doctor is helping you as you make decisions for your life and health Carlyn. What do you find helps in the day to day to give you better quality of life?

Wingman, ride on! I always appreciate hearing from you.

Debbie123 - you have been through a number of 'firsts' now since your mother passed away. I hope the memories are softer now. 

I have been doing a bit more traveling this past few months - and must say happy to be home right now. Going to NL with my daughter to have a service for my husband/her dad and bury his ashes. Not really looking forward to it but NL is lovely and I know this is what he wanted.

Take care everyone 
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