When someone you love is dying

There’s a lot of that going around these days, it seems to me. But this one is particularly hard.

I know I’ve been absent recently. I just don’t feel like writing. I feel mostly like drinking, and playing Mario. I’d like to go for a walk, but walking in the rain when it’s raining inside my head already seems counterproductive.

Tom’s condition is taking the expected path. He’s losing the vision he has in his remaining eye, something that’s particularly frustrating for him. He has occasional conversations with people who aren’t there, asks whoever is sitting with him to hand him something that only he can see.

They’ve adjusted his meds to make up for his weight loss (at about 6′ tall, he weighs around 130 pounds at the moment), so at least he’s able to walk and talk again, although the words he’s looking for sometimes just aren’t there.

He’s short of breath occasionally, a sign that the tumors in his lungs are growing. Hospice has been terrific, but they can only try to help him be comfortable. They don’t have any miracles to offer either.

If he makes it a couple more weeks, he’ll be 50 years old. What he seems to want most at the moment (if he can’t be well again) is to die. It just doesn’t seem fair.

I feel that at age 50 I was just beginning to discover who I really am. Tom said a couple of weeks ago that he thought the two of us were more alike than any of our siblings. I suspect he’s right. And he was just coming into his strong period when the roof caved in on him. This stupid cancer that he’s fought so determinedly for about 20 years will not be denied. It’s determined to claim him. It probably will. We’re out of options.

So if I’m not around occasionally, it’s because I’m doing for my brother the only thing I can do for him at this point: I’m letting him know how much I care about him.

We’ve had some great conversations. As a very young woman, I had a near-death experience, one of those out-of-body things. It wasn’t my time to go, and I came back. The only thing Tom wanted to know was this: Did it hurt? Luckily, I was able to tell him no, no it didn’t hurt. And yes, yes there is something on the other side.

I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing, hugging him whenever possible. I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to give him hugs. But I have an endless supply. I can hold out as long as he can. . .


9 Responses to “When someone you love is dying”

  1. Philip Ferris Says:

    Life is biter-sweet. I hope that you will find the sweet when you need to.

    If only in spirit, I have a supply of hugs to which you are welcome to for yourself.

  2. JMo Says:

    Ah, I am so sorry Marianne! My thoughts are with you and Tom. Keep hugging.

  3. Marianne Says:

    Phil, Jeff, thanks.

    I’ve always believed that hugs were one of those magic things. You can’t really give one without getting one in return. There are very few things about which that can be said.

    Muddling through, Marianne

  4. Barbara Says:

    “I feel that at age 50 I was just beginning to discover who I really am.” That was true for me as well.

    I’m very sorry, Marianne.

  5. Marianne Says:

    Barbara, thanks. I appreciate knowing you’re there.

    Aging is a remarkable thing, and perhaps the greatest tragedy of dying young is not getting to experience that.

    Hugs to you, too.

  6. inger Says:

    I’ve got some hugs in reserve in case you need some back stock. I’ll make sure to bring them next time I get to see you. xoxo

  7. Marianne Says:

    Inger, thanks, kiddo. I’ll look forward to that.

  8. Jenny Litchfield Says:

    Am reaching out to give hugs from downunder, Marianne.

  9. Marianne Says:

    Jenny, thanks. Right back at you.

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