My best friend, the sister of my heart, is dying. It really hit home for me yesterday, when I went with her to the attorney's office, to get paperwork in place so that I can ensure that her last wishes are followed.
Sam and I bonded over The Man From UNCLE, when we were in junior high. We moved on to Dark Shadows in senior high. After high school we were in more sporadic contact, but each knew the other was there if needed. She was widowed suddenly and terribly at age 30, and we talked for hours every night for a year or so. She's my youngest daughter's godmother, and we laughed that the church roof didn't fall in when she entered.
December 8, 2000 was the day my oldest daughter go engaged, and Sam had a mastectomy for breast cancer. She went thru the usual chemo and radiation management, and after 5 years was deemed cancer free. Last year she started some symptoms, and this spring spent over a week in the hospital. Bone and lung cancer, a deadly combination.
We email more than we talk, even tho we only live 3 miles from each other. I've always known her feelings about death, and how she wants hers managed. We've debated the usefullness of funerals many times over the years- are they good therapy for the survivors or just barbaric? (My personal feeling is that they're somewhere in the middle).
So we spent time with MaryBeth, attorney, yesterday. Arrangements have to be made for the care of Sam's elderly husband, who is in poor health. Who ever dreamed that he may outlive her? Sam's doctor is recommending that she hook up with hospice. Wills and living wills have to be made, arrangements with a funeral home. Arrangements for power of attorney and for executor, and guardianship. Arrangements so that if/when estranged relatives from either side show up, that I don't have to deal with them. It's all being done very pragmatically, loose ends are being tied up.
And I just want to scream- "NO! this isn't supposed to be happening " I always pictured Sam and I in a little old ladies home, rocking on the porch. I manage to not cry, because if I do, she will too, and we'll both feel stupid.
I gave Sam the 3rd quilt I ever made. I made her another one this spring, when she was in the hospital, and named it "The Road is Long" from the song by the Hollies. I printed out and the lyrics and altered them somewhat, and gave them to her with the quilt.
The Road isn't going to be as long as we want it to be, and it's going to have the winding turns and be bumpy. But so far it's been a good road most of the time. And when it's the end of the road, I'll be there, making sure her wishes are followed. She ain't heavy, she's my sister.