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Goodbyes galore

Oct 05, 2011 - 6 comments

I’ve known since January that I would be saying a final goodbye to my sister - probably within the year.  That’s still in process.  Very close.  Very painful.  I’ve been well aware that (given the circumstances) it has been a blessed time for my sister and me.  We have been granted all the opportunities people usually hope for when cancer is unstoppable.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I still feel like I’m being turned inside out at times.

So I’m overwhelmed with respect, awe and heartbreak for a friend of mine.

Back in June, she ended a work day by asking her coworkers if any of them had ever experienced a sense of impending doom. It made them nervous because they knew she had already double dipped into grief.  Her sister had died suddenly and unexpectedly a few months before.  Her best buddy sister-in-law left life with no chance for goodbyes shortly after. The nerves were justified all around.  My friend arrived home that day to discover her husband dead on the floor. He had a long history with heart disease.  In fact it was so long he had most all of us convinced it would never catch up with him.  We knew better but nobody prepares themselves for something like that.

I shared my feelings with another friend at the time.  She responded, “What a shock. File this one in life's lessons - always say goodbye when you leave the house like you mean it. I am so sorry to hear (she’s) facing life without her husband.”

What a memorable statement that turned out to be.  Always say goodbye when you leave the house like you mean it?  My friend said a final goodbye to her sister, sister-in-law and husband in 2011.  Monday evening she arrived home to find three fire departments had been called to extinguish flames that apparently started around the basement furnace and climbed up walls to exit through the roof.  

A wall space devoted to a display of favorite photos of her late husband has been melted into nothing.  The place they raised their family together is gone.  She must feel like she arrived home and found him dead all over again.  She must feel like she is facing life without her partner--again.  

There was no sense of impending doom this time around.  This is overwhelming surprise, shock, silence and sadness.  I know she will learn a new way to feel his presence in her present.  Right now we’re on guard for the moment consciousness hits her with the reality of accumulated loss.

I wonder how much grief one single soul can absorb and survive.

I wonder if it’s possible to reconcile the conflict I feel between my friend’s circumstance and my own.

I wonder how it can be that some people insist on inflicting needless pain on people who are already overburdened by the organic type demanded by life.

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572651 tn?1531002957
by Lulu54, Oct 05, 2011
Anytime I hear of fires or storms destroying homes and memories it strikes me that there are loses we can never recover from.  Too many reminders get destroyed.  I hope this is the last time for a long time that she has to process a new grief.  Unfortunately you will know that feeling all too well with your sister once she is gone.

hugs, L  

572651 tn?1531002957
by Lulu54, Oct 05, 2011
Acts of nature destroy all physical proof so that is why we have to add memories to our heart and mind while we can.

198419 tn?1360245956
by sllowe, Oct 06, 2011

My husband is also my best friend. Unspeakable sadness you write here, but, provided with such a heartfelt message :)

Thank God for memories of times both good and bad, with those we had the opportunity to know and love with all of our heart and soul.
((((Hugs to Mary))))

559187 tn?1330786456
by Sarahsmom46, Nov 12, 2011
I am just reading this now Mary. Not sure how I missed it, but I must say I found it to be very profound and enlightening in the respect that we have to appreciate the here and now because we don't know what is going to happen to us or those we care about tomorrow.

Every day before I step one foot out of bed, I lay there and think of 3 things that I am grateful for.  I have kept this waking tratidtion because I had an experience long ago where I had to make a simple decsion (simple at the time anyway) about whether I would go with my dad to see my beloved grandmother in the hospital or go for a pre-arranged lunch with an old friend who was only in town for a couple hours.  I listended to my heart that told me to cancel the lunch and go see grandma even though my dad said it would be better to see her after her surgery the next day.   Nope, I decided to go see her and grateful that I did because she did not make it through the surgery, had a heart attack on the table that they could not bring her back from.  

This is why I found so much meaning in what you shared with us.  Thank you so much for allowing us into your thoughts and concerns about your dear sister's struggle.  I think she would be proud that her life was something that other's like myelf can learn from.  

Love and Hugs,


352007 tn?1372861481
by LisaJF, Jan 26, 2013

I extend my heartfelt sympathy for your friend's loss of her husband and her home.  I can't  imagine the amount of loss any person can endure in such a short time span, regardless if you're prepared or unprepared for the inevitability that we all will face at one time or another.

I pray that you're friend will find the strength within to carry on.



352007 tn?1372861481
by LisaJF, Jan 27, 2013
I hope I made sense yesterday.  I'm afraid to reread what I wrote thinking it may not make sense.

Just know I think of you a lot -hugs-


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