Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Ultimate Adventure Awaits

At 88, Dee has had many an adventure. She's traveled the world, raised 5 children, and now, as she sits regally and perfectly groomed in the comfy chair in her room at the assisted living facility, she's a bit impatient.

"The doctor said I had 2 months to live and it's been 2 months and 3 weeks. I'm past my expiration date!" 

Her quips about dying don't stop there. "I let Robi cut in line, but I'm next!" she says. Her sister, Robi, died recently, just 3 weeks after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Dee had been on advanced hospice and hadn't expected to outlive Robi. 

Dee has lost 3 of her 5 children, a husband, and a second long-term partner. She has been through more grief than anyone should have to endure. 

She wants to be next.

As I sit and talk to this spunky woman, the woman who hosted my wedding reception,  the woman who always called herself my "fairy Godmother," the woman who I've known and loved for close to 50 years, it's hard to imagine life without her.  She's so full of life even now, during these final days.

Three months ago, the doctors told her that her heart and kidneys are failing her and there was nothing more they can do.  Her reaction to that? "Sounds about right."

I marvel at her sense of humor. She's joking about dying and doesn't seem the slightest bit scared, sick or in pain. She doesn't even seem old! She sounds exactly like the articulate, educated, irreverent, opinionated, vivacious delightful woman I've always known! How could she possibly be dying? 

I imagine myself being told these are my final days and I'd be petrified. 

I happen to know that Dee prays a lot and I think her faith is playing a part in her acceptance of her imminent death,

"How are you so calm, Dee? Is it because of your faith?" I ask her.

"Oh, no. How can any of us be so bold as to claim we know what happens after we die. I don't believe in Heaven and Hell. They would both be so overcrowded," she jokes.

I pressed on. I wanted to understand this lack of fear so that maybe I could be as calm when my turn comes.

"You aren't at all afraid?" I asked.

"Afraid? My dear! It's a new adventure! It's the ULTIMATE adventure!"

And then a lightbulb clicked on for me! I get it now! Dee is not afraid because she loves new adventures. She's not afraid of the unknown. She's excited about finally unraveling the mystery of what happens after we die!

Unfortunately, I'm not like that.  I'll undoubtedly be scared to death (and of death) when I'm dying. But I will remember this conversation with Dee. And I'll think: "Yeah, thinking of death as an adventure is not working for me." 

Dee.. you're still on this earth and I can't imagine it without you, but I know you will be amazing as you embark on that next ultimate adventure.


iStellar said...

Dee sounds like an incredible person who will leave behind cherished memories with those who were fortunate enough to have known her. I hope she passes peacefully and I'm sorry that your time with her is coming to an end.

My Carpe Diem Life said...

Thank you, Stella! Yes, she is an incredible person and will lead the way to that next great adventure.