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The End of Life Journey

As an active observer –participant in the struggle to survive the indomitable forces of cancer…taking a once vibrant woman who told others to “follow her lead as if they had jumping beans in their pants”… and then to gradually succumb to the ravages of the disease, is an experience no one should have to participate in or witness first hand…

It’s an up and down roller coaster ride with so many complex forces to consider, that it catches everyone  off guard… even if your physician, attorney, support  services, hospice try to prepare you … There are a multitude of things that shock and shake you to your very core!  Things that should be that aren’t… Things that don’t make sense in a civilized society, screwed up priorities…  Things that mystify given all that public servants like Susan Murphy-Milano have given to countless others in this world…           We begin to question the existence of God …or God’s wisdom in the unfairness of it all…

If you are a homicide survivor and grew up feeling like a “little medical specimen” for others to study like Ladyjustice, you probably think you know it all when it comes to grief.  However, the trials and tribulations…the long haul nature of cancer in its later stages has been a whole new experience for THIS crime fighter to contend with…

Unless you are there to witness the process in person or have had the experience previously, you have little cognizance of the time, effort, dedication, financial costs, energy expended and emotional toll it takes… not only on the person suffering the cancer, and the caretaker, but the “second ring” of persons as Trauma Specialist Duane Bowers would say.

In addition, when the person who has the cancer does not have immediate family who care, the “second ring” becomes the “first ring” – filling in the gaps…in a very noble and heroic way!

Ladyjustice sometimes feels helpless to make a continuing real contribution when separated geographically. E-mails and postings, support from the circle of friends can all help assuage the grief…  But phone calls can’t realistically be returned “just because you want to know”. Therefore, your head tells you that patience, understanding and compassion MUST kick in…even if your heart tells you otherwise… You may try to assist others as a distraction and cause for the greater good while others are busy.

During this life altering ordeal with Susan Murphy-Milano, Ladyjustice has learned many, many lessons such as:

God – is present and has a plan that we mere morals most likely will not fully understand…if at all. With time and reflection some answers may come to us;

Friendship – is thrown into high gear with the wonderful support that springs forth by those who “always cared anyway’ literally going the extra mile and more… Core people will remain, while others will fall back into their former routines;

Respect– ABOUNDS ….particularly for those closest to the crisis. We must keep in mind that EVERYONE grieves and copes differently according to their comfort level. We can offer help in many forms personally or professionally.  Just because it is OUR need to give, it is not really about us …even if we are hurting!    Ladyjustice and others need to remember and give others their space and own way to process, come to terms and move to the next part of their journey in their chosen ways.   Safe in the knowledge that we care and can be called on, others can and will in their own time take it…with a little encouragement;

Community – consists of the “inner circle,” large groups bound together by the heart wrenching situation, divided into still other sub-groups.  Some participation is active, some is passive. It is an imposition at times for passive observers to ask others to “catch me up” on the details when they too are in the throws of their own activity and grief.  Always be respectful and take the time to use the resources that are out there…Some participants are” the caboose “on the train, some are the engineers and regular passengers” to use a metaphor… That’s just the way it unfolds…

Priorities– whether you are the caretaker, a friend, acquaintance, fan or cheerleader…and involved with someone with a life threatening illness/disease, YOUR priorities will change…at least for the short term…and maybe forever. Your suffering is temporary in the scheme of life,  as is the person’s with the illness until they are in God’s eternal home.         If you suffer too long and too intensely, please seek professional help to put you on the correct path with your loved one…

Health – After this traumatic experience, if you tended to be unhealthy in your eating habits, lifestyle, sleep patterns, your weight, smoking , drinking, workaholic nature… you too will take pause…and hopefully make some type of qualitative, if not quantitative life altering change.  However, do it at your own pace… Listen to your physician, but refuse to” be bullied into change “ if you aren’t ready for “leaps and bounds of change”.  Smaller steps will do… as long as you keep on the path…

Never again will you say “Cancer… (or whatever) can’t happen to me or those I love.”   That refrain is all too common … Take it from a homicide survivor… Yes it can…

If you think you are not up to the task… you will be, because you have to be…  You will do it…’Just look at the “Susan and Delilah blueprint example” we have before us….  Truly amazing!

With Love and Respect,

Donna/”Ladyjustice”

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2 thoughts on “The End of Life Journey

  1. Pingback: Birthday Blog: Hitchin’ My Star to a New Wagon « Donna R. Gore

  2. Pingback: Shattered Lives presents Citizens Against Homicide: Sponsoring a Conference…and Related Issues « Donna R. Gore

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