From a high to rock bottom...
My high has been the fantastic news of DS. and FDiL. getting engaged.
The rock bottom was and is this...
I was the 'nominated close friend' last week when a dear friend was informed they had cancer. They had thought surgical/chemical treatment would be offered and with luck, everything would be fine.
No such luck! The diagnosis, completely out of the blue and with very few symptoms, was end stage, terminal, metastatic cancer with possibly several months to live - although they say it could be more than that but looking at them, we and they think less but who knows! The team cannot accurately gauge the length of time left, due to the advanced state of the disease. Only palliative care can be offered.
There is nothing you can say in such circumstances other than "sometimes life is s--t and this is one of those times"
After the initial shock and then having to inform family, my friend has been remarkably stoic. Some would say they have given in but not so. Plans have been formulated, one of their children is moving in and the palliative care team have swung into action.
Things are changing rapidly - a brief hospital stay to receive blood, the beginning of low dose morphine - they are already at that stage rather than beginning with other pain alleviating drugs and progressing towards morphine.
We and a few other close friends, suddenly realised yesterday, that we have moved into a strange world of X time (not my friends real initial). Days are passing in a blur of either passive or active help. House cleaning, washing, ironing, gardening, mending, fixing, guiding through legal issues or simply sitting there, chatting (or not), quietly listening or answering questions as best we can. Help is required as the child who is staying with them, has their hands full taking care of their mother.
Changing patterns in breathing/eating/drinking are subtly observed, seeing and hearing that strange hiccup of emotion that flits across their face, then is hurriedly put to one side. Friends leaving the room when it gets too much and going outside to get on with something or the other, have a blow of their noses and then return, smiling once again. Don't get me wrong, we are all being upbeat and behaving as normally as possible, no point moping about, doesn't help anyone.
My friend is very well known locally and many are leaving messages, some are sending gifts but it is obvious, that visits need to be orchestrated as the effects of the morphine make them sleepy. Family must come first. They have at least, been granted time to assimilate the situation and say their goodbyes.
Friends also need to say their goodbyes and we, as close friends, also need to do so but in a supportive manner. We have come to terms with it. Our sole aim now, is to get our friend through it in whatever time is left. Be it weeks or months, our waking thoughts are always of them and this new time era we find ourselves living in - X time.
It is a necessary but temporary timespan and like them, we will get through it.