I’m excited to share a third guest post with you today!
I happened to throw out a text to two good friends to see if they had anything they’d like to write about and I got one back within a few hours. My friends have so many life experiences that differ from mine, I feel like me sharing their stores does everyone justice…but secretly, I just love to read them myself.
Angie and I’s friendship dates back to high school. She was part of the cool girl’s group that I befriend and she’s been stuck with me ever since. She’s always been the girl with the gorgeous curly hair, curses like a sailor, keeps it 100 all the time, and is one of the most generous people I know and hang out with. I forced her to go on a date a long time ago, which lead to some of the biggest momentsofn her life. [I’m not sure I should mention that part, but it’s our history and we can’t hide from it.] She has the coolest and sassiest little 7-year-old girl, whom we all adore. Angie is extremely sarcastic, almost to the point of awkwardness, but we love her for it. She keeps me grounded, in the most loving and non-judgmental way possible. I’m glad our lives are woven together, despite being so different. You will see exactly what I’m talking about with her post. Enjoy!
|Angie & her Dad|
guess you could say that we are all actively dying, right? In some existential, emo way. All just inching towards it, though some faster than others admittedly and even if no one really
likes to talk about it.
baby born to a homeless woman in a rainy alley, and countless others who flat-lined while surrounded by medical professionals- all courtesy of my stint as admin in an ER. So, I’ve
seen a lot of people “actively dying” in my life; today’s patient was a part of my employer’s No One Dies Alone Program. Essentially it is what the title indicates; if we have a patient in “active death” who is alone, we sit with them through their transition.
wasn’t there for his very last breaths, but I was there. I saw him Monday, staring thoughtfully at a pad of paper fiddling with a pen, I saw my Dad leave that day and drive away with tears in his eyes that he tried to hide from me, and I saw my aunts tending to him in his bed in the living room that Thursday, I sat with him on Saturday, and he passed surrounded by his kids on Sunday morning. I had no idea that all of this would be prepared for the next person I had to sit with while he died…
end his suffering. Not because that’s what I wanted (because I miss the fuck out of him every single day) but because we knew it was what he wanted. He died during a small window in which none of us were staring at him but we were all in the room. He heard Adriana (my now 7-year-old daughter) talking to me about something I can’t quite remember anymore; he just went peacefully and not alone.
strangers! And regardless of my reasoning or explanation of why I do it, I know he wouldn’t approve.
leave that to athletes, mathletes, and the cool kids. I can, however, offer my time while someone is dying. I can sit with you during one of the most intimate moments of your life
and the very last minutes of it and just be there.
Grandma’s grave gifts begging her to just please help me with him. If hear a noise at night in my house and have to investigate, I ask my Dad to watch my six while I blindly walk to what I
assume is my own untimely death (spoiler alert- it’s usually my cat just being an asshole).
you have a grasp on what it’s like but it’s so much harder than you realize when it’s your person that’s dying and dead. It’s empty and lonely and just feels wrong. And you MISS the person with every fucking cell in your body. You would give anything to just hear them say something like “Why in the FUCK would you want to do that, Angela?!” or “Goddamn it, daughter, you got ANOTHER parking ticket?!”. And regardless of the circumstances, saying “they are in a better place” is just not comforting at all; though the sentiment is appreciated. So, now I just say, “that really fucking sucks” because it does- Really. Fucking. Suck.
I sit with people who are dying so that they are not leaving alone and so I can try and catch a glimpse of an afterlife. I talk to them, read them news stories that don’t matter anymore from
my phone, tell them what the weather is like on their last night on Earth, and think about what led them to be alone. I do it because if for whatever reason, I end up dying alone
someday, hopefully, they will be there to greet me as well on the other side.
Thank you, Smange. I’m sure that was cathartic in some way, but it was so honest and raw, it was beautiful. I’m glad I had the pleasure to meet him and spend some fun times with him, even if I don’t think he ever remembered who I am. His pure, unadulterated love for you and Adri was evident every time I spent any time with you all! I know those who you sit with are grateful, as are I and the people alike, who can’t fathom taking on such a responsibility. You are admirable my friend, thank you!
Again, in awe of the strength of my friends and the way they tell their stories…