Photo by sudok1L – fotolia
“I’m broken.” That was the text from my friend Kate after she received the worst possible news. Her husband Bob was going to die. After a meeting at the hospital with his care team, it was clear that nothing else could be done and they were releasing him to hospice. Bob had one to two weeks left. He’d been sick for about a year and half, but Kate and all of his friends truly believed he’d recover. This news was a shock.
My husband was already at the hospital where all the family and friends had begun to gather. The minute I got out of the studio, I sped over there, but I realized I had no idea what to do. I texted my husband, “What do I say? I have no idea how to handle this.” Of course, there is no answer. What do you say to a man who has days to live, or to his wife who is about to lose her other half?
I said nothing. When I saw Kate, I just hugged her and we both wept. When I saw Bob, I hugged him a little too tightly as he still had tubes all over his body, and held his hand. I tried not to cry in front of him but that was futile. I still didn’t have the answer to, “What do I say?”
So, I prattled on about work and what we’ll do when Bob goes home the next day, and even made little jokes about how he looked like he could use a sandwich. He laughed and thanked me for my energy. I’m still not sure what you are supposed to do when you visit a dying friend for what may be the last time, but being fully alive made the moments a little more bearable.
In the moments Bob has left on this earth with us, he’s seeing visitors. His house is like a party with friends and family, eating, playing guitar, and laughing. I’m so proud of him and Kate for truly living what are Bob’s last days. As tragic as our young friend’s near departure from this world is, he’s going out the way he spent his healthy days—with love, style, and positive energy. The lessons Bob has taught us are many, and he’s continuing to model a life with grace on his way home. If there is a proper way to die, Bob is doing it.
This week I wish you friends like Bob and Kate, and moments that are truly filled with life.