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    PAPAMIKIE   48,299
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Balancing Life and Death

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

As some of you may know, Nov 2012 my sister was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer and given a very poor prognosis. This changed many things for her and her adult girls and for me and my family. We became the primary supports for Debi and her daughters. Gramie and I and our daughter Rose became the doers when things needed to be done. Debi when through Chemo and initially things improved some.

The initial scan following her first Chemo showed great improvement, however, while this was expected it was clear to me that this would be short lived. The Oncologist had said that if she responded well we would see some quick improvement and Debi should feel better until the Cancer returned. He said when it returned we would see what we could do then. His voice tone and body language implied there would not be much we could do.

Debi had a good Christmas and she and the girls had largely allowed themselves to believe that the Chemo was a cure. This lasted until the doctorís note supporting her application for disability indicated that Debi would never return to work. At this point it was almost like getting the original diagnosis again. I noted to Gramie that the illusion got them through Christmas without much concern about the disease.

Debi complete her Chemo and we had a party to celebrate on Feb 10 2013. This was organized by Debi and the girls and turned out to be a very good thing.

Debi had quite a lot of pain and we took her into the hospital Mar 3 2013 the scan showed the Cancer had spread into her spine and resulted in a spinal fracture and had also continued to develop in her kidneys the Liver still looked good, but the liver functioning turned out to be way off. She was sent home but returned Wed night and was admitted. By Thursday night her condition had worsened and we were informed she might not make it through the night. By and large, they have been able to keep her comfortable but, she has become progressively less responsive, often not showing any awareness of our presence nor response to our voice or touch.

I have shifted my focus to organizing the many things that need to be organized to settle her estate. While she was well enough I did relaxation and pain management work with her. This helped or at least appeared to. I do believe it made her most difficult time somewhat easier. She has not died, but has left us. We go in and sit with her, read to her, talk to her, sing at her and so on, day by day the little responses we got last week have become less and less.

Yesterday afternoon I spent making final arrangements and organizing money to deal with bridging from the time she dies until the house can be sorted out and sold. We plan to have a break after she dies and do a scattering of her ashes in the summer at lake where we spent our summers as kids, this was one of the place she like best and one of the happiest times of her life. Debi was the keeper of my grandparents ashes and it seem appropriate that we will also cast their ashes with hers (they had a cottage on the same lake for many years).

Gramie and I have continued to focus taking care of ourselves. I have mostly maintained my Taiji and Qigong, but have not documented here at sparks in the Tai Chi team goals. One has to balance the time available and the many things that have to be done.

We are coming to the end of this phase. Sometime in the near future I will get a call from the hospital informing me that Deborah Doris McCaffrey passed out of this life. I will call the cremation service and they will manage the necessary details. I will inform my sibling and Debiís daughters and we will deal with the fact that Debi has passed out of this life.

We mostly feel like we have accepted the fact, Debi is no longer able to respond in ways that we can detect, however, I know that when she actually dies, this fact will be different, and will make a difference. It is not easy to know how each of us will respond to the lost which is Debi can not respond to us, and the lost that Debi is no longer available to us physically.

This is all part of the cycle of living and dying. It is a reminder to me to live each day, to say and do the things you want to say and do, and do not put things off.

Edited at 8;20

Today at 3:30 p.m Deborah Doris McCaffrey died quietly with her daughter reading to her.

The cycle has completed for her.

Let the Chi Flow. May she rest in peace and find a place in the kingdom of God.

Edited Mar 20 2:53 p.m.

I had to share that Merrisa was reading a book given to her by her mom. Her mom was given the book by Alethia Debi's oldest daughter and Merrisa's big sister. Something very comforting in that .

Edited Mar 29 8;00 p.m. I have posted another blog that outlines some of the things I was able to do to help Debi be more comfortable this may be of some interested to some of you.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
JCDUBEA63 3/20/2013 10:29PM

    So hard to lose a loved one no matter how prepared we are!! emoticon I lost my mom to cancer!!

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TIMETOGETGOING 3/20/2013 10:27PM

    So sorry for your loss. So grateful for your having shared the journey with all of us . emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 3/20/2013 10:25PM

  emoticon m emoticon emoticon

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LADYVAL56 3/20/2013 10:23PM

    Sorry for your loss...I've been there...take some time to renew yourselves and take care.... emoticon

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PHEBESS 3/20/2013 10:21PM

    My deepest condolences. May her memory always be a blessing to you and her family.

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L4DYTR3 3/20/2013 10:19PM

  sorry for your loss

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CATREBEL 3/20/2013 10:05PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. Peace and comfort to your family

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2SNOWCRANES 3/20/2013 9:58PM

    Your sister's spiritual journey will be starting soon and it is a blessing you can help her start it. Sorrow is a natural reaction to losing someone dear, but it also means you love someone very much. emoticon

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JSGETFITNOW 3/20/2013 9:52PM

    So sorry for your loss. I imagine how blessed she must have felt to have such a wonderful family to see her through to the end. Take care.

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MSLADYBUG3 3/20/2013 9:47PM

    So sorry about the passing of your sister. Prayers to you and your family.....may you find Peace and Comfort during this difficult time.

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ROCKYCPA 3/20/2013 9:46PM

    My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your sister.

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KERRIELYNN719 3/20/2013 9:44PM

    So sorry for your loss...

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LIVINHEALTHY9 3/20/2013 9:28PM

    My condolences on the loss of your sister.

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SHASTA11 3/20/2013 9:25PM

    I'm so sorry you and you family lost your dear Debi to cancer. I celebrate the fact that she and her daughters and you and gramie got time to do things and reaffirm your love for each other.

May Debi rest in peace and that you all grieve in your own way and time.

God bless you.

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CICELY360 3/20/2013 8:58PM

  good blog

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GRAPHICS2 3/20/2013 8:56PM

    My sympathy to you and the rest of the family.
It's a journey we all will experience, and may we take it with grace and dignity. Sounds like your sister did.

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KALEWINE 3/20/2013 8:45PM

    So sorry for your loss. emoticon emoticon

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ADEWYN 3/20/2013 8:40PM

    I am so sorry for your loss... watching a loved one with lung cancer is hard i am going thru it with my father atm... I am glad she went peacefully with her daughters by her side... something to be said for that..... take time to heal your souls... she loved all of you... Hugs and love.. and many healing thoughts to you and your family

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HDHAWK 3/20/2013 8:32PM

    I'm sorry for your loss. You helped to take wonderful care of her. emoticon

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ROBB1N 3/20/2013 8:28PM

    My sympathies go out to you and your whole family.

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HINDYPATTI 3/20/2013 8:25PM

    Very sorry for your loss.

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ISABELLE31 3/20/2013 8:25PM

    I'm sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts.

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KRISKECK 3/20/2013 8:21PM

    Sending love and prayers to you and your family.

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A-DAY-AT-A-TIME 3/20/2013 8:10PM

  Sorry for your loss.

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NANADEE44 3/20/2013 8:04PM

    Your story is so touching and my heart goes out to you and Gramie and Debi's daughters and the rest of your family as well, as you deal with her passing. May God comfort you in the peace that she is now surrounded by in her new life after death.


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CAROLJ35 3/20/2013 8:00PM

    You have been such a dedicated brother! Your blog gave me goosebumps and brought our friend, Sandy's, death a few weeks ago all back to mind. She was diagnosed on Jan. 6 with a rare liver cancer and was gone in less than two months. She was just 69 and so looking forward to her 50th wedding anniversary in the next few years. We never know what lies ahead for any of us.
God bless you and all of the family.

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SMILES_CAN_DO 3/20/2013 7:58PM

  Debi was blessed with a wonderful brother. I wish you and your family peace and strength during this difficult time.
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FRANCES-AGAPE 3/20/2013 7:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
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!! Sending up LOVE and PRAYERS !!

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But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1Thess 4:13+

We Don't Grieve as Those Without Hope But We Still Grieve

PEACE and BLESSINGS to ALL the family !

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MY1FAN 3/20/2013 7:55PM

    I'm sorry for your loss.

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MRSKATEDUVALL 3/20/2013 7:18PM

    bless you and yours. Reading your story brought back my mom's battle with lung cancer.

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MISHKIN 3/20/2013 7:09PM

    I am very sorry for the loss of your dear sister Debi. I am sure she was comforted knowing that you were there for her and your nieces. Your story moved me to tears. My prayers are with you and your family as you go through this sorrowful time. May God bless you and comfort you.

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AJB121299 3/20/2013 7:09PM

    Sorry for your loss. May you bbe comforted by loved ones

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ROZZIEOZZIE 3/20/2013 7:05PM

    You have my deepest sympathies! I am dealing with cancer diagnoses with two of my family members, and know how awful and helpless I feel. Take care of those closest to you as these days things change so quickly! But what a beautiful tribute your blog is to your sister - she is proud of you!

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HEALTHY4ME 3/20/2013 7:03PM

    So sorry for your loss, and condolences to your family. What a fitting way to pass, sounds peaceful and so glad that it was that way.
HUGs to you all.

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ILUV2TEST 3/20/2013 6:40PM

  So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you

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3G1RLS4ME 3/20/2013 6:34PM

    So sorry for your loss :( emoticon

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GOOSIEMOON 3/20/2013 6:31PM

    Sorry to hear of your loss. Take good care of yourself and your family.

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TAWANDA_IS_BACK 3/20/2013 6:16PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. I understand first hand what it feels like to lose a sibling. My brother died at the young age of 17. Praying peace for you and others left behind.

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YVETTEK 3/20/2013 6:08PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your sister.

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JMSA67 3/20/2013 5:58PM

    Sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace, and you and your family find and have peace. You and your family and her friends are in my prayers. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this story, and for your wise words. God bless..

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KIMCOLLINGS 3/20/2013 5:57PM


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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/20/2013 5:35PM

    I am sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing this part of your life, and death, in your family. I do hope you can all celebrate your sister's life and find peace in the
Life and love you shared!

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RUFFIT 3/20/2013 5:32PM

    So sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my many prayers. Moni emoticon

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SUGAR0814 3/20/2013 5:29PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss.

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PICKIE98 3/20/2013 5:27PM

    How wonderful that your sister, now an angel looking down on all of you, can see the love you poured into the family,, she raised her children right, they will now be her beacon here until they join your family later.. God Bless you all ..

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SJKENT1 3/20/2013 5:23PM

    You love your sister well and blessed her with the peace in knowing the next step was being taken care of.

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DLDMIL 3/20/2013 4:37PM

    Prayers for your entire family. May God Bless all of you in knowing that she is now in a much better place.

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SHOAPIE 3/20/2013 4:29PM


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WILSON1926 3/20/2013 4:18PM

    I'm so sorry. I'll be praying for strength for you and your family

Let the good chi flow

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LISA_FRAME 3/20/2013 3:57PM

  So sorry for your loss.

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