Friday, November 16, 2012

Death and Dying

Last year, I lost a couple of clients, a husband and wife.  They both died from cancer a year apart. They were young, 50ish, vital, extremely intelligent and kind and I became very close to them. They had two college age kids who are amazing. This year the kids are spending Thanksgiving in New Zealand without their parents.  their mother could cook feasts. I think about this family often and how much it meant to me to represent the father. I feel a hole inside me.  I cannot imagine how their children feel. Part of my pain is for these bright, shining kids with no parents. I know the family was loving and the parents did all they could, but I can't shake how the parents are gone.  I have the painting the college aged daughter made for me in my office.

This week, our neighbor died. He and his wife were the coolest neighbors. He played the banjo in a bluegrass band. They had block parties every year and the band played really sweet music. He had a beautiful garden. His wife is heart broken. 

A couple of weeks ago, a lawyer friend of mine, age 41, died in a fiery private plane crash. I know his charming wife who he met while she sold legal books at lawyer seminars. They have a 13 month old boy. My friend was the happiest, kindest man with an infectious laugh.  I feel pain in my gut when I think of his recent passing. 

The husband of one of my best friends is hospitalized in Oregon. He is very sick, having lost part of a lung because the doctors needed to cure his pneumonia so he could undergo a bone marrow transplant for his leukemia. In the mean time, the cancer recurred, so he is undergoing chemo and then will have the transplant. My friend, a lawyer, has had to leave her practice to take care of her husband, and herself.  She has progressive Parkinson's Disease.  I have promised to go visit her in the next couple of weeks. 

And, finally, there's my mom. She is recovering from quintuple coronary bypass surgery. When she feels well she drives and plays bridge and goes to rehab. In the hospital she got C Diff, a contagious bacterial infection that affects the colon. She takes medicine, certain antibiotics, but a few days after she stops, the C Diff returns, causing fever, chills and wreaking havoc on the digestive system. We have got to get this infection under control. We hope to get her into a gastroenterologist. I thought she was going to die in July. I want her to get well. 

I try to be an optimistic person, try to live in the moment, and realize that we all die, to no avail. I want to hold on to these good people. I am sad and scared. I know many people and their families are in much worse shape, but that is really little consolation.  I don't have a pithy or uplifting ending to essay. I guess sometimes I just have to accept being sad and scared and stop running from those feelings. 


  1. I'm terribly sorry for all the wonderful people you've lost. I'll say prayers for your mother, and for your peace of mind.

  2. The thing about getting older that no one tells you and that you never think about--unlike, for some of us, our own deaths--is that we lose so many people in our lives, the older we get. They can be family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, all kinds of people.

    Going from mostly positive, unaffected youth to an older person who experiences all these losses becomes difficult, at least, if not, for some of us, at times, nearly overwhelming or, worst, truly overwhelming.

    I just lost a friend--young, by my book--two weeks ago. He was 56. He seemed to be gettting better. Cancer took him. He was invariably so kind. He was the type who literally never said anything bad about anyone and was invariably positive.

    Part of all this is the loss, period, I think. The other part is wanting to make sense of it.

    At least it is to me.

    Sorry for your losses and difficult times.