Hi--my name is Jules. I don't know where to begin and I don't know what to say--I'm completely lost right now. The wife of a lifelong friend passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 45 from lung cancer. She was a dear friend of ours as well. The thing is--she didn't smoke, never had--was never around much second hand smoke. She took care of herself and did everything she should have. Her mother passed when she was in high school due to breast cancer and her father passed in the last 8 months due to prostate cancer. I guess its pre-disposition.
Connie went in for a routine mammogram this past summer and there was a small mass found in her right breast--it was removed and biopsied--it was begnign--she agreed to spot radiation "just in case". She healed and was given permission by her doctor to travel to Cinncinati for a work related training session and came home with a cold. It got no better over several days--in fact it seemed to have settled in her chest. After 3 days and her breathing becoming more labored--her daughter took her to the ER--she was diagnosed with bronchitis and given medication. After another 2 days and no relief her husband took her to their family physician. Knowing Connie's family history--he sent them to a respiratory specialist who found fluid collecting behind her right lung--it was drained and a procedure was done to adhere her lung to her ribs in order to prevent fluid from re-collecting. The specialist ordered x-rays and a mass was found her right lung--it was removed and biopsied--this time it was malignant. They were seen by an oncologist--the prognosis was 18 months at most. After many tests, Connie was found to have a very aggressive, fast moving form of lung cancer. This was just the week before Thanksgiving.
Connie had started chemo just a couple of weeks ago and responded fairly well to it physically--not too much nausea and some fatigue. She had an occasional cough that started on Dec. 2, but no pain. The oncologist's office was called--they were told to go to the ER should it continue. On Saturday, December 3 she woke up in much distress and could not catch her breath. Her husband and daughter rushed her to the ER where she was admitted--more tests were run. Fluid was filling her right lung and a large mass was found on her left lung. The oncologist said she had possibly 72 hours at most--more than likely less.
We were called on Sunday, December 4 and given the news. We rushed to the hospital to be with Connie for just a little while. We had not been able to see her since her surgery for adhering the lung--my husband and I both had colds--then our son caught one as well. We called daily and talked to Connie when she felt up to it and left messages when she didn't or we talked with her husband and daughter.
We got to the hospital--Connie was heavily sedated, but still able to talk a little at a time. Her husband told her we were there--she held her left arm out for a hug--we both held her and cried. She said she had something to tell me then something to tell my husband. I sat on the bed and held her hand. She said she was sorry we weren't friends longer. She also said "this sucks--oh well--its part of the bigger plan". I told her I was sorry we weren't friends longer and I would miss her. She said she was sorry to be leaving so soon--we had so much left to talk about and do. I told her not to worry--it was alright; I understood under the circumstances--she tried to smile a little at that. I said there was so much about her I had left to learn and that I was sorry she had to go as well. I also told her that her daughter was beautiful and she had been a wonderful mother, wife and friend. I told her we would watch over her husband and daughter for the rest of our days no matter what. She thanked me--I held her for what seemed not long enough and told her to save us a spot--we'd be along shortly--Connie told me she would be waiting for us and then she asked for my husband. They talked privately for a few minutes just as she and I had. I don't know what was said just as my husband doesn't know what Connie and I talked about. Its too painful and too new just now for us to discuss even privately. We will soon though.
We were with the family that Sunday when Connie asked for the pastor of her church be called. The pastor came--the family asked that my husband and I join them for a prayer meeting. We all joined hands around Connie's bed. After a very moving prayer thanking the Lord for the gift of Connie the pastor asked if Connie had anything to add. She said she loved us all, she was sorry she had to go so suddenly and for us to be there for each other and to take care of her husband and daughter.
Connie passed with grace, dignity and no pain at 4:00 a.m. Monday, December 5, 2005.
We miss her so badly--I cry all the time--my heart just hurts. My husband and I cry for her husband and daughter. We talk to her husband almost daily--if he doesn't call us first. Her daughter doesn't want anyone but her aunt, cousin and grandmother right now and that is understandable. We have left some messages for her on her cell phone--she called last night at 12:30 in tears wanting her mama and didn't want to wake her grandmother. I talked and cried with her for almost 2 hours.
We know there is nothing we can do for Connie now....we hurt and there is nothing we can do--we also know that her family is hurting so much more than we are right now. In time Connie's passing will become easier to bear--right now we are so sad.
Thank you for letting me come here and say this. I'm very tired and I can't think any more.
Thank you for sharing this most difficult pain. All of us here have lost loved ones and are experiencing the pain of that loss - so we understand what you are going through. You'll find this group to be incredibly supportive. Feel free to write anything and know that it will be understood. Grief is about us and our missing the loved one, and that journey is individual for each person. Take care of yourself, so that you can be there to support others. Sudden loss is the hardest for the survivors to deal with, although it minimizes the pain and suffering of the one who is gone. If you want to talk off-list in private emails, my address is in my profile. (My major loss was 12 years ago, and at times it is still hard to deal with.)
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For some reason I can't fathom, my email address isn't showing in my profile. It is firstname.lastname@example.org
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December 15, 2005 10:56 PM
(((Jules))) Thank you for sharing your sad story here. This is a safe, supportive place to pour your heart out, to shed your tears with no one judging you, for we have all been there ourselves so we understand. Your loss is still so recent and the pain is fresh. Come and talk to us about it any time you want or need to. There is always someone with a shoulder to lean on. Peace, Liz
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My dear husband also passed on very unexpectedly last year, and I'm still mourning.
Connie touched your soul and your wife's... Your friendship meant a great deal to her... but she had to go... her mission on Earth was over. However, since nothing happens by chance, you were fortunate you could meet and spend some time together. Yes, it was too short... even if it was long enough to make you appreciate one another. I think Connie is happy now, free from pain, knowing you're looking after her family just as she's watching over all of you. Perhaps we could define the situation as "mutual support"?
Healing will come with time and it's difficult to achieve it... My advice is simply to pray and show Connie's relatives that you care... Again, I see the same pattern... you're helping one another in the process.
Like Liz and Tim just mentioned, this is a very compassionate group you can write to anytime. If you like, you can email me and I'll give you my personal address. I'll be always available for you.
Whether its a spouse, family member, dear friend or beloved pet--everyone needs caring during such a vulnerable time. It never ceases to amaze me the support I have found on Care2. Recently, I have found myself in dire need of support; I have found that at this site and in this group. I thank everyone for their kindness and understanding. I only hope I can be as much to support to others here as they need it.
I am trying to make sense of losing my friend. I know there is no true explanation for why our time together was so short other than Connie had a purpose and she fulfilled it so her time on Earth was finished. This I believe of all life, but it still does not take away the throbbing in my heart nor does it dry my tears when I think of her, remember a moment in time or hear a song she loved.
My husband and I invited her husband for dinner last Saturday evening. He said he appreciated being asked and would be here. We also invited another friend we've known for almost 25 years. We ate, talked, watched the Chiefs get whipped by the Giants and had a generally easy time of it. After the football game was over--we started to talk about Connie--my 13-year old son had many questions for his "Uncle" Mike...Mike listened to my son and answered him honestly and openly. At one point Mike just sat with Jesse and let Jesse cry on his shoulder. Jesse told Mike he was sorry Connie had to go and wanted to know what would become of his Auntie's beloved pets--Casey, Trixie, Claire and Bootsy. Mike said they would all stay with him and Jesse could come visit any time he wants to. Jesse asked if he could come down to see them for Christmas and Mike said it was a fine idea. They will go out on the quad to put out apples and corn for the deer and fill all of Connie's bird feeders together for her. Those were things Connie and Jesse did together in the winter and he has always cherished those times with his Auntie.
We all continued to talk and Mike said he had a question for us. He started out telling us some of what Connie said to him privately and she wanted him to ask us what we all talked about with her--then maybe he would find some peace with her leaving this world so soon.
I started first and asked my husband if he didn't mind I would share with everyone--he said it was fine if I didn't mind him sharing too. We still hadn't discussed our talks with Connie. I told everyone what we said about our friendship--how we wished it had been longer. I also told about the "bigger plan". I couldn't help but cry while I told Mike because he had the most amazing smile on his face as I spoke-tears running down his cheeks at the same time. Then my husband told about how he and Connie talked about the time when Mike and Connie were just dating. She thanked my husband for accepting her and for being a stable factor in their lives at a time when they were very unhappy in the marriage. She thanked him for always being a friend to Mike and to make sure he ate enough after she was gone.
Our other friend, Russell didn't get a chance to see Connie before she passed, but did talk with her on the phone a few days before, on December 1. He said she knew she was not long for this world. Connie asked that Russell always remember her for the "world's best apple pie" that she made for his birthdays and to tell people about it. They also talked about their respective "dirt cakes" and whose really was better--then wound up agreeing both are wonderful. Connie told Russell that's how being friends with him was--they always "argued" over who was loved better by the rest of us and then always agreed they were each loved best.
As we all told Mike about our conversations he just smiled and cried. He said he could have never asked for better friends than he has in us. He said the message Connie left for us was to always take care of each other and to remember how important each one of us is to our very existence. She also asked that we tell stories about our time together to her daughter until we are sick of telling them--then tell them all again. She said we are to laugh and smile while remembering and try really hard not to cry even though she knew we would. She asked Mike to tell us she loves us--she's saving us a seat and she wondered if Heaven looks like Colorado--breathtaking scenery and high mountains with snow at the peaks. She said to tell us she thought it would. They had talked off and on as much as Connie's strength would allow throughout the night until she slipped peacefully away while Mike held her in his arms.
At that point we were all in tears---smiling and crying because we knew what Connie was trying to say--to her we were family and to love each other always--take of of each other. We also knew she was in no pain and was surrounded by a love so immense the human mind cannot comprehend it.
The beauty that was Connie will never be forgotten--it will remain with each of us in every moment we share together or spend remembering her.