30 Days of Truth Challenge – Day 6

Day 6.  Something you hope you never have to do.

This one is fixed in my brain.  I hope I never have to pull the plug on someone.

I have had to make tough decisions like this, before, with my mom.  I didn’t have to pull the plug.  I had to pull the feeding tube.  But first I had to make the decision to PUT the feeding tube in, when she just a few days away from death.  I knew she wouldn’t want me too, but we didn’t want her to suffer, despite assurances from medical staff that she wasn’t feeling any hunger or thirst.  But, I couldn’t take the chance, and so a last minute feeding tube was inserted.  After about 6 months, the doctors and hospice staff stated she had “failure to thrive” and we were needlessly prolonging her life.  So I made the call to pull the tube.  I was so upset that day that I actually passed out at work.  But, the woman who hadn’t eaten on her own in 6 months was suddenly eating like a champ!  She didn’t last much longer, but at least I didn’t have to make any more tough decisions.

People need to think very carefully as to who they want to be their medical power of attorney.  This POA needs to be sure to follow the patient’s wishes, all the while making the best medical decisions.  It’s a fine line.  It is something I hope I never have to do.  Again.

Luckily, the rest of my family has their own family to make these decisions for them, so I don’t think I will be called upon once more.  As for myself, I have filled out the necessary paperwork spelling out all my medical, death and funeral wishes, and my will.  Everyone needs to take the time to do this, to save their family unnecessary anguish in having to figure it out themselves.  It is not expensive or that time consuming, you can find programs on the internet to do this for you, even for free.  Most people don’t want to bother with this, or even think about it, because they think it is morbid.  It is not.  It is a necessary fact of life.  And death.

Don’t make someone put this on their “Something I hope I never have to do” list.

 

 

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How do you say goodbye?

grave

Deep breath.  Another deep breath.

It has happened again, on the heels of another recent deep loss.  One of my dearest friends is gone.  My friend who has always been there for me.  And now he is gone.  We didn’t even have time to say goodbye.  Things like this are never planned.

I am SO grateful that I saw him a week ago Friday.  I am SO grateful that I got to hug him and tell him I loved him, like I did every time I saw him.

I feel like I knew him forever.  I kind of did.  I knew him my whole adult life.  We met at work, we made life long mutual friends.  That was THIRTY YEARS ago.

We did have periods where we lost touch here and there for a few years.  But we always stayed connected and picked up right where we left off.  I remember him coming to visit and go boating with me and my family many times.  My family, neighbors, friends…all loved him.  He was always so friendly, so happy, so funny.

He got me through both my divorces.  He saved my life, literally.  He was always there for me.  He would comfort me and be my friend, when I needed a friend the most.  He helped me, he was just THERE.  Sometimes you just need someone you know you can count on, who will always be there for you.  Jack was that guy.

And probably not for just me.  Jack was the kind of person who would do anything for all his friends.  One phone call was all it took.

I can’t even count the number of friends Jack had.  Life long friends, from school, work, neighbors….heck, everywhere he went, he made a friend.  He always had a story, a joke.  (I think I could recite most of them, word for word!)

Jack married later in life.  His beautiful, sweet, lovely wife remodeled the house, taught him how to love a fur child, cooked gourmet dinners for him and their friends, and added a woman’s touch to his bachelor ways.  But she knew him and loved him enough to know that there no remodeling him, like so many wives try to do, lol.  He still went to all his beloved Notre Dame football games, and she continued with all her passions and hobbies.  I remember being in awe of her when I first met her.  She sailed, and did the Mackinac races!  What an adventurer!  She added class and culture to the mix, lol.  Jack was a beer guy, she was a wine gal.  My heart goes out to her.  She deserved more time with him.  We all did.

I loved Jack.  I loved him with my whole heart and soul.  He was my buddy.  I will have a huge hole in my heart.  But I know I will see him again.  We will have an eternity to catch up.

P.S.  I just had to go back and keep corrected sentences to make them past tense and not present tense.  That makes it so real.  I can’t believe I will never see him again and hear the same old jokes again.  But I am comforted by the fact that he has entered eternal happiness.  Maybe he will even learn some new jokes.

 

Say hello for me…..

Dear Uncle George,

You passed away a few days ago, in the presence of your loving wife and daughter.  Today is your wake, tomorrow your funeral.  I like to think you are looking down at your family right now, with loving eyes.

You lived a good long life.  87 years old I think.  You were such a great husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend.  I will always remember you as the kindest, most gentle man I knew.  You always had a smile on your face, and gave the best hugs.

I have so many great memories of you.  I remember our vacations at the cottage every summer with the whole Massey clan.  They didn’t call it a Massey parade for nothing!  You built that cottage with your own hands, it was sturdy and so fun.  I remember the bunk beds in the kid room, lol.  I grew up in the midst of loving aunts, uncles and cousins.  And Grandma Massey of course.  Two weeks every summer.  I looked forward to it all year.

I don’t know many families that still call their cousins their best friends.  We still vacation together, lol.  I wish all kids would do the same, they don’t know what they are missing!

I have cousins I can call after 6 months and just pick up where we left off.  I consider my aunts and uncles my mom and dad, since mine passed away so soon.  My dad has been gone for 35 years (!) and my mom for 12 I think.

I used to go to Florida when you, Uncle George, and Aunt Kathleen lived in Hollywood.  You were always so good to me, and we would have so much fun together.  We would sit on the lanai and talk talk talk!  I always loved Hollywood Beach, and I will remember those days with you there forever.

I am so happy I got to see you last December at the Abel’s wedding.  I got to see ALL my aunts and uncles and cousins, and it meant so much to me.

I am so happy you got to see your youngest daughter get married this November.  You made it, all the way back to Hollywood, from Ohio.  It was a big deal for you and Aunt Kath, and you made it.  I am so glad.  And your daughter was so glad.

You have such great kids.  They have been so wonderful to me all my life.  I vacationed with them, I have fun with them.  I still do, and hope to continue to do so for a very long time.

I will miss you, Uncle George.  Say hi to Barb, my mom and dad, Uncle Bill, and everybody else that welcomed into you heaven.  Someday we will all be together again, vacationing under the loving eyes of God, for eternity.

God Bless.  Rest in peace.

Love, Janny

Take your life back

suicide

Yet another young actor has taken his own life.  It seems to be pandemic lately.  Drug overdose, hanging, self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Any way you look at it, it means a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Is something or someone worth paying the ultimate price?  I must be honest here.  I have had thoughts on the subject myself, especially when my husband cheated on me and left me.  I think everyone has had those thoughts.  Luckily, most of us get help or work our way out of situation.

I’m not necessarily talking about teenagers, who sometimes are impulsive and don’t realize that their attempt may be successful.  They may be seeking attention more than they are seeking death.

It’s the recent headlines of young adults, in their 20’s/30’s, that are most concerning right now.  From the drug overdoses of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson and Cory Monteith (which I believe were accidental but playing with drugs is playing with fire), to the most recent deaths of Gia from the Bachelor and former Disney star Lee Thompson Young, who had a promising career on Rizzoli and Isles.

From the outside it seemed these people had everything to live for.  On the inside it must have been a different story.  To be desperate enough, in that much pain, to think you must end it all, that is serious business.  If only they gave themselves one more chance.  If they only knew how much they were loved, or how many people would mourn them.  The loss of a life is always hard to deal with.  How does a family reconcile that death with it’s suicide? The Catholic Church used to state that suicide was a sin, and that persons committing suicide could not have a Catholic service and burial. However, the Church has since changed this point of view, especially if the person was not in their right mind.  But for the family, there is shame, there is guilt, feelings of what more could they have done?  If the suicidee intended to make a statement with their death, well they sure do, with emotions that live on when they don’t.  The parents, the spouses, the children….how do they deal with the fact that their loved one purposely left them?  Is that REALLY what the person intended?  It almost seems selfish, in a weird way, but then again suicide is not a normal thing.  It’s the ones left behind that suffer the most.

I wish that before every important decision in life is made, you must pass a test or have a waiting period.  Too many things are done on impulse, whether it be shopping, marriage, divorce, cheating, stealing, murder, and death.  Too bad we can’t stop the world for a few minutes to rethink our actions.  So many times we have buyers /sellers remorse.  We could use a grace period for everything, especially suicide.  If you make a bad purchase, it is eventually paid off.  If you take your own life, it is forever.

My legacy

legacy

This earthly life is not forever.  That is saved for our heavenly souls.  I truly believe this, because I have to think there is more to “life” than this.

But regardless of religious beliefs, I think about what impact MY life may have had on my family and friends.  When I am dead and gone, will my legacy live on?  What the heck IS my legacy?

I think my legacy is words. I have always been a lover of words.  The written word, the spoken word….it all matters to me.  I believe I am well-read and have a lot of life experience, and like to share it with people.  Nothing stimulates me more than a good rational discussion on taboo topics between friends!

My family thinks I’m a mean person.  I have the tendency to speak of things they don’t want to hear or think about.  I am also a little miss know-it-all, and that irritates people too. But I am the one in my family that gets things done.  The hard things that nobody else wants to deal with.  Give it to Janet.  She’ll get ‘r done.  I’m too smart for my own good sometimes.  My life would be a lot easier if I just played dumb.  I am my own worst enemy.

A lady friend of mine who I admire greatly is a writer and has read my blog.  She tells me I am irreverent.  I tell it like it is.  I wonder, is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I think it can be both.  My words have turned around to bite me in the ass more than once, but they also have given out a lot of good advice over the years.

I hope that when I no longer travel this world, that the words I have left behind will mean something to people, and perhaps they will have benefited from them.  I know that most of my family currently does not read my blog, and does not want to.  They are not interested in my writings.  Maybe they will be when I am gone.  Not that I have anything earth shattering to say, but perhaps they will understand me better then, and think more kindly of me.    I have bared my heart and soul on more than one occasion.  Maybe they will read a blog post or two for my eulogy.

What becomes of the broken-hearted? REDUX

Been thinking a lot about this lately ever since my sister’s husband died right before Christmas.  They were married for 36 years.  She misses him so much.  It will take awhile to put a smile back on her face.  I grieve for her too…..

When people say they could just die from a broken heart, listen to them. They are right.  Broken Heart Syndrome is now a bona fide condition.  How often have you heard of a grieving spouse dying shortly after their loved one?  Research has shown that they are more likely to suffer a heart condition.

When people are grieving over the loss of a loved one due to a variety of circumstances such as death, divorce, break-up, etc., they are likely not to take very good care of themselves.  They can become depressed, not eat or take their meds and get less sleep.  All of which can be a recipe for disaster.

Intense grief brings on psychological stress, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and clotting, and there you have a perfect recipe for a heart attack or stroke.  This can lessen over time, but grief has its timetable for each individual.
I know for myself that grieving takes a long, long time.  I still grieve over my divorce from ten years ago, and at the time I literally prayed for death to come and take the pain away.  The pain WAS physical, not just emotional.  It took me more than a year to feel like any semblance of my former self.  I felt like I aged visibly ten years almost overnight.  My swollen eyes never bounced back and left me with more wrinkles etc.  It really took its toll on me.  Now I know that I was NOT crazy as some people told me.  It is a real condition.  Of course, I could have told you that years ago.
The death of my 3 beloved pets last year made me physically ill for days after each one.  I still cry buckets of tears over them, and give myself headaches and swollen eyes and I can FEEL my heart aching.
They say that time heals all wounds.  I will say the initial intense pain does gradually subside, but it never goes away entirely.  It leaves physical and emotional scars on your heart and your brain and your soul.   You can never go back to what you once were.  You can only go forward and be a better person for what you have experienced.

A Total Eclipse of the Heart

At approximately 9 a.m. this morning, September 24, 2011, I lost my best friend of the past 12 years.  She went to join her baby sister who went to the Rainbow Bridge only 5 months ago, both victims of canine kidney failure. 

That was the very last piece of my heart that was unscarred.  Once again it has been ripped out of my chest and left ragged and bleeding.  I don’t know if it will ever heal again.  Too much damage has been done.  Too late for a heart transplant, or even life support.  All the air has been sucked out of my body, and there’s no blood left to pump through my veins. 

I am just an empty shell.

THE Anniversary

Many people love anniversaries, look forward to anniversaries.  Anniversaries should be happy times.  Not this one.  Not this one, not ever.  I can barely watch the remembrances, even now, ten years later.  Seems like it happened yesterday.  I just dread tomorrow.  So many innocent lives.  For what?

Ten years ago today I was in a very, very dark place, myself.  At first I wished I was in one of those towers.  I would have traded places with any of those poor innocent people, with wives, husbands, children.  I had nothing.  Nothing that I could see at that time.  My own vision was clouded with my own personal catastrophe, that was as real to me as those towers.  It would have been an easy solution to all my problems. 

I was at work on that day, trying to make it through another day of heartache and pain and tears.  The WTC collapse seemed so surreal.  Our bosses at work would not let us watch it online after the collapse, or leave for the day.  I was scared.  Would they be attacking other tall towers in big cities?  Nuclear plants?  I lived near both.  After work I went home to an empty house, and turned on the TV and sat and watched in horror, alone, and in tears.  I could not believe or comprehend how people could destroy each other like that.  But I knew personally just how evil people could be, so it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise.  People hurt and kill people all the time.  But the mass intent of this was just too overwhelming.  I think I was numb.  Eventually I just collapsed into myself, just like the towers.

In the coming days, Americans banded together, and it helped restore my faith in humankind.  I only wish that the spirit of that day would last forever, and help this country find its way again.  Maybe this anniversary will rekindle that flame.  I will be honoring the moment of silence at noon tomorrow, and remembering the brave people that died that day.  And I will always remember the personal pain I felt myself on that day, and how I rose from the ashes and became a much better person.

God Bless America.

A Dog’s Purpose, from my POV

I read the book, and loved it.  I cried over each reincarnation.  Dogs truly are a human’s best friend.  They never judge, they never lie, they are loyal and true blue, and they love you unconditionally.  Tonight my purpose is not to go into detail about the book.  Tonight I am a bit meloncholy, as my senior Lab, Mollie, was just diagnosed with kidney failure disease.  She is 12, and has had her share of health issues.  She has epileptic seizures on occasion.  She has two bad knees she blew out running crazy down steps.  She is mostly deaf, unless she hears the clink of silverware on an empty plate ready for licking.  She doesn’t see as well either, rabbits pass her by now.  But, she is a good old gal, and loves to go for a walk, and a swim in the lake.  She will still pick up every stick she sees.  Her tail is always wagging, and she loves kissing kids and adults alike.  She has even come to accept the new cat, Simon the Siamese Scaredy Cat.  She was the cutest, most spoiled puppy ever, everyone loved her, and she grew into an awesome dog

Mollie has witnessed the death of two of my golden Retrievers, Maggie and Maddie.  Maggie at age 8 from heart disease, Maddie at age 8 from kidney disease.  Mollie has been rock through the death of my two golden angels, my divorce, loss of jobs, illness etc.  Her thick white fur has soaked up a boatload of tears. 

I think this was Mollie’s purpose in life.  To see me through some rough patches, always with a smile on her face, and a wag in her tail.  I think I will miss her most of all.

Lead Balloon

Well, just as I had feared, my last blog about Divorce versus Death backfired on me and may have cost me an old friendship. This old friend recently lost his wife to a hard fought battle with cancer. He took umbrage at my blog, and I don’t blame him. I tried to make it perfectly clear at the beginning of my blog that I meant no disrespect to anyone who had lost a spouse to death. Didn’t matter. He took it personally.

My fear of backlash like this is the reason why it took me years to voice my feelings. But apparently my feelings need to stay buried, so I don’t upset somebody else. We both lost someone we loved. He held her in his arms when she died. I was never able to say goodbye. I got no final kiss, no final hug, no final words of love. I got nothing but a new girlfriend flashed around town and in my face. I got no words of encouragement from anyone. I was just supposed to forget the past 10 years and move on with my life as if it never happened. Seriously. That is what I was told.

I am not stupid, and I am not unfeeling. If anything, I am just the opposite. I know how devasting a death can be. I KNOW THAT. I was never disputing that. I was just giving voice to MY feelings, not EVERYONE’S feelings. Is it so difficult to understand my point of view? I guess I don’t convey my meaning very well.

I apologize once again to my friend, and to anyone else who thought the same as he did.

I always did think that it’s the ones who are left behind who suffer the most.