Death and Dying

I have debated with myself for several days now on whether to post or not to post.
It is an intense personal subject.
Death and dying.
And this is not about me, but rather about how we deal with it.
A friend of mine was told his dad was dying and no further treatment would help his cancer.
He had about three months left, which he never did.
He died a mere four weeks after that final diagnosis.
So I went to see him in the hospital and did it daily.
We laughed, we cried, we told each other stories.
And in the process we re-discovered each other, our faults, our foibles and our strengths.
What a beautiful experience it was for both of us.
Two human beings connected without all the usual baggage we carry with us.
Life stripped to its barest essentials, caring, talking about the things that really mattered and loving each other and not afraid to say so.
The one thing I learned a long time when I did a documentary on palliative care and later as a volunteer at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice that people at the end of their life want to be loved, want to tell you all the things they should have done and they don’t want to die alone. They want a warm loving connection and we all can give it.
So if you know of someone in need of help, love, compassion, empathy or a willing ear give it freely.
It’s in you to give.
And one more thing, off all the things people regret not doing when they are dying DO what I am suggesting you do.
I have done it countless times and never have there been any regrets.
And I remember it well – the day I said my final goodbye to him, having to stare my own mortality in the face.
It was a monumental and defining day in my life.
I said goodbye to him as he was dying at a hospice at UBC.
The staff said the finality of it all could happen anytime.
And what I have saw and experienced was amazing and scary and fearful.
I saw a great wonderful person fade away from life on a daily basis.
And that is scary. Scary to the point where you say to yourself – I don’t and I can’t deal with it.
But then you do.
You do because it is not about you but about the person who is having to deal with their own finality.
What they want is what you provide – being there for them when they want what is most important to them – a human connection that is real and meaningful. I closed the door to his room and told him how much I loved them, that I was glad to be his friend, that I would take care and look after his family when he was gone.
And when those words came out I started to cry in great big waves.
And he started shedding tears and nodding his head. He was at the stage where he could not talk anymore.
A few days later he died.
So I am sure at this stage you are saying to yourself – why is George posting this?
The answer is simple.
I think we need to realize that the simple things in life is what matters the most.
One word – love.
We all want it.
We all need it.
And only when we realize it, will the world become better.
Before I met my friend I harboured resentments against people, people who hurt me, people who exploited me, people who lied to me.
But it was only through my dying friend did I realize those feelings don’t really matter.
What matters is that when really meaningful people come into your life – your life takes on a new dimension, a new perspective and a new meaning.
And that is what happened to me.
I am grateful for that forever my dear friend.
And to quote Bruce Springsteen – long may you run.
I know I will because of you

One thought on “Death and Dying

  1. Hello George,
    What a touching post.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and view of such a valuable friendship.
    We can all learn from this.
    Kathryn

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