So many times in the past, I have heard people, after the death of a a loved one, say, “Did they know how much I loved them….” Or, “I never really got the chance to tell them how much they meant to me….” Or, the other haunting comment, “….I never got to say goodbye….”
Death is a given. There is no pretence or hope for a miracle cure, just certain death and the months leading up to it. So, when I was diagnosed with extensive stage carcinoma lung cancer I decided I wanted to die differently. As I wrote in my Christmas letter of 2021:
“I want to reconnect with the people who made my life what it is, All of you, in your own way, made my life “joyful” and I am thankful for that and for you being in my life. I do not know how many days for months I have left but I am thankful for each and every one of them. I hope that if I leave you with anything, it is how wonderful life is and how joyous the people in your life can be. Thank you for the role you played in my life as I could not have been me….without you!”– Carl J. Mistlebauer, Christmas Letter 2021
I realize now, after five months that I have run into a roadblock. How do you balance your desire to openly accept your own impending death with the desire of your loved ones need for hopefulness.
How do you handle the well intentioned, who want to make sure you don’t quit fighting? That you stay strong. Sometimes I feel like I am back on a basketball team and in a huddle….getting psyched up to score that last basket so to win the game for my team.
At what point do I cease worrying about the needs of others, who I love dearly, and focus more on my needs. How do I ask for help? How do I reach out when I sense everyone is turning away?
How do I make my death as purposeful as I believe my life was as I accept the reality of my future?