Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Test of Strength? No, LIFE

It has been a very trying time in my life. The death of my boss and mentor has jolted me to the core. I thought, as with all of his trials, he would triumph. How do I let go, how do I say good-bye to someone who has impacted me so greatly?

On top of this, my grandmother, whom I love so dearly, is starting her first major battle with sickness at the age of 96 (she had to have a pace-maker put in a few years back). If we could all be so lucky. The doctors have said there is nothing they can do and slowly my grandmother's heart and body are degenerating. Her mind is sharp and she is able to move about of which the family is very fortunate and grateful to still have and enjoy.

Additionally I just found out my 42 year old best friend had to have two lymph-nodes removed from her neck after having an abscess in her tooth that then caused her lymph-nodes to swell to an extraordinary size. All tests have come back negative, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, but the oncologist is very concerned and the lymph-nodes have been shipped to Maryland for further tests.

This is a lot for anyone to manage, singularly, on their own; one battle at a time please, but to have to grieve and worry through all three is a new challenge.

Not to say I have any difficulties compared to my mentor's family or what my grandmother is personally going through, wondering when the next phase will begin and what that will be. Imagine hearing from the doctors there is nothing they can do. And my friend, my dear friend, having to wait for the results of the further tests, wondering if she will begin the battle with a form of cancer or some other unknown-at-the-moment condition.

With my boss's death, people are saying, 'I was meaning to visit him' or 'I wished I had called'. With my grandmother, the family wonders if there is more we could have done or can do now. And with my friend, we all hope the results come back negative and that we have many more years to spend with her.

I have found through other losses in my life, there really isn't enough time. My family is very close and they have spent thousands of hours with Grammie and I saw Grammie at least weekly, but, of course, we wonder 'could we have spent more time, could we have experienced that time with more love and attention?' 'Could we have brought her more joy by doing more things?'

Only one person can answer that question and we seldom dare to ask. A common phrase is "life gets in the way". I'm sure each of these people have said those exact words about another person in their life who is no longer living. Why do we question our connections at the time of possible departure or after the death of someone? Wouldn't it be better to evaluate and re-evaluate all of our relationships? Maybe I should put in my calendar, monthly, an examination of one friend or a few friends or family; what have I done with them this past year, what can I do to let them know I love them?

I know, it won't happen and I don't think it's practical, really. Family is family, we are stuck with the good, with the difficult and with the continued drama that close-knit loving people endure. Would you really want it any other way? Friends are people we choose to spend our time with. We get something in turn from our interactions. They know us on a level that family doesn't, and they continue to choose to be with us as we continue to be with them.

My boss and mentor taught me to experience life to its fullest. I have heard that all throughout my life from those who regret decisions they have made in their past and from others who wished their lives were different. I am fortunate. Though my life is not perfect, I am pleased with my choices and where I am in my life. Yes, I would make a lot of changes along the way, if I had the chance, mostly to avoid the pain and heart-ache of past mistakes and choices that did not lead to a great conclusion. But we don't have that ability, and neither do the 3 wonderful individuals I talk about here.

What we can do is remind our family, our friends, our loved ones that they are important, that they matter, that you love them and you wish and hope for nothing but joy and happiness in their lives and a painless and long-way-away death surrounded by family and friends with the knowledge you did everything you wanted to do and you told everyone you wanted to tell that you love them... and I DO love them oh so much.


eurydike said...

Your photography is exquisite. I am a photographer as well, and would love to know what camera, lenses etc. that you use.


Karen said...

Hi Ernie!!! Happy New Year!!!

Please please give me a call, I have lost your # but not my love for you. I miss you so much and think of you all the time, especially this time of year. Malek misses you too!

Much love,