Time to Stop, Think, Feel

Jan 19 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Ten hours of sleep finally overcame my "O'Hare Hangover" from Monday's travels. After my online rant, imagine my delight when United gave me 9,000 frequent flyer miles for my inconvenience.

Yup, I can be bought.

So this morning I arrived at the office with a busy agenda; I had things to do and people to see.

Then the email arrived.  A friend and colleague had taken a turn for the worse, after what had seemed to be at least a stalemate with metastatic cancer over the past year. She enters hospice care tomorrow. Her time with us will be measured in days from now until the end.

Suddenly time stopped. All those cool blog posts, simmering in my brain since returning from Science Online, sounded unimportant. Writing out a training plan for my doctoral student looked trivial.

The company for which she worked has kept her email account going, even though she has not clocked in for a while. She wanted emails from anyone who felt like sending one.

What do you say to someone who, almost literally, has one foot in the grave?

Finally, I settled on the truth. Her life mattered to so many of our patients, and I was a better person for knowing her.

When the end comes, I hope someone can say the same of me.

2 responses so far

  • becca says:

    That is rough.
    On one level everything is exactly as important/unimportant as it was yesterday. You just got a reminder about something important.
    I guess that the opportunity to send the little note, even if there's nothing 'right' to say, just something true, is a good thing. Thank you for writing; hopefully it will help me be a little more mindful of the important people in my life.

  • theshortearedowl says:

    Absolutely - the important thing is to have said something, and the truth is the best. Because death is a such a taboo topic in Western society, people sometimes don't want to talk to people who have to accept that it's coming. It takes strength to do the right thing sometimes, otherwise everyone would do it.

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