Today is the anniversary of my beloved sister, Jan O’Brien’s, death six years ago.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer on Memorial Day and was dead before Labor Day. And not a single day goes by that I don’t think of her, wish I could call her, and miss her like hell.
Those 3.5 months of impending death were spent fighting an all-out war that couldn’t be won. Hell, we never had a chance. But Jan wanted to fight…until she didn’t any more. The end wasn’t kind, gentle, or peaceful. The process of dying was long and difficult and grueling for everyone who loved her. My only hope is that her true spirit took flight, unfettered by her physical body, which didn’t get the memo.
I bring this up because this past week I learned of another amazing woman dealing with end-of-life matters. Her names is Meg, and, although we weren’t close friends, as writers and fellow creatives, our circles overlapped. She impressed me as a no-bull woman, smart and involved. She lived a good mountain-loving life, ate healthy foods and treated her body well, but cancer took hold and did was it does best.
Hospice is involved, as it was with my sister. I have mixed feelings about this “service.” But my concerns over the monetization of death are paltry compared to my contempt for those in the medical profession who examine patients, but fail to see people.
This account comes to me second-hand, but from a trusted source. When Meg was hospitalized for a cancer-related problem a week or so ago, her doctor had this to say: “Doesn’t look like this organic, healthy lifestyle helped you much, did it?”
Meg was alone in the room at the time, vulnerable.
Meg is being cared for by friends who love and respect her and treat her with dignity. The end will come when the body is done. Hopefully, her soul will have flown to a splendid vantage point long before that last breath. Maybe Jan will be there to greet her.
One can only hope.
BTW, I will be hiking to the splendid high country next week. I’m posting some pics for you from our recon hike, but I won’t be back to reply to comments until after Labor Day. Have a good one!