Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Tom-- on what it feels like to be dying

My thoughts on what it is like to go through the dying process. 

I realize through going to cancer class and being around other people who are dying that it is really a mental will of the mind.

Dying is very emotionally difficult.  If you are not strong willed. you will die right away.  I believe it is desire and good attitude that keeps us going.   When someone is in the dying precess, they slowly  lose all that they ever were.

They lose their career.

All the normal things that people go through every day.  Those things are taken away from you.

You don't sleep well.  Your sleep patterns change.

Your can't do them anymore if you are physically unable.  I was athletic.  I was physically conditioned.  I have lost 40 pounds of muscle. 

I lost my camero.   

Your friendships change.  A lot of them don't know what to say, so they say nothing.

Maybe not everyone has this happen to them, but I have lost everything that was me.  The only thing I remember that is the same is my desire to serve, but I am too sick to be able to do that too.  I can still make sandwiches for the homeless but that's about it.  I can't do anything else.

I used to be spontaneous.  But I am not.  You have to have energy to be spontaneous.

I don't know who I was anymore.

You forget what it is like to be normal.

You have to figure out a new normal for you.  It is really hard.  Absolutely.  It is like having a box full of toys and you can't play with them.  You have to figure out something else.

What I see as a mental battle of the wills.  It is very easy to just give up.  And if you give up emotionally, then your body will give up physically and you will pass much quicker.

I personally have noticed the emotional struggle that I see.  Some days when you are so physically fatigued or hurt, you welcome death.  Or I guess I should say I welcome death.

So what makes me keep going --it's gotta be the attitude.  I have always had a never give up attitude. 

My children are my foremost reason for carrying on.  But as they get older, it is becoming easier to see that they don't need me as much. 

I think it is vitally important to have good friends.  Without their emotional support, I believe you are that much more likely to give up quicker. 

Even though I believe that  a slow and painful dying process is much harder than a quick death, I still would have chosen the slow and hard death.  I can enjoy some of the great things that life has to offer.  When you are slowly dying, you know it.  So you are given a chance, kind of like a second chance, to make the rest of your life anything you want.  I have chosen to do just that.

Even with limited physical and mental abilities, just being able to enjoy the warmth of the sun in the morning or seeing the spring flowers come up or watching one of your children in a band concert or school play, makes it all worthwhile.

Most people look at life and forget about all the beauties that are all around us.  Everyday I wake up and I am just happy to be alive and feel warm in a bed under shelter that is my own.

I have said it before.  It is like your senses are heightened.  So while you physically feel more pain, you also get to feel more joy.  The goal is to try and have more joy than pain. 

I think if most people lived my life for one day, they would want to die too.  But if they could feel the way I felt, they would trade it all to have that same feeling.
Thanks Bestie Tom