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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:
SARASMILING 3/20/2013 5:23AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NCSUE0514 3/20/2013 5:13AM

    I am sorry for your loss, but glad for her release from suffering. May God grant her peace and give you and your family comfort in the days to come.

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2592SC 3/20/2013 4:55AM

    May peace be with you & your family during this difficult time.

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COOKIE_AT_51 3/20/2013 4:53AM

    emoticon sending peace for you and your family.

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SHERYLDS 3/20/2013 4:30AM

    say and do the things you want to say and do, and do not put things off.

thank you for sharing your feelings and I am sorry for your loss.
She was blessed to have such a wonderful and loving family
I'm sure she knew that

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KANDOLAKER 3/20/2013 4:16AM

    emoticon and blessings to you, your sister Debi and all of your family!

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SPARKCHANTAL 3/20/2013 4:03AM

    you are wonderful people

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MOTLORAC 3/20/2013 3:59AM

    Thanks you for being there and participating in her ending in this journey, may we all have so many loving family members around us that you gave her. emoticon

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SHANNONY84 3/20/2013 3:57AM

    Thank you for sharing this! I hope guide is guiding her and may God bless you!

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RAWCOOKIE 3/20/2013 3:52AM

    Thank you for taking the time to share this, it is very inspirational. Sending you love and chi x
emoticon emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 3/20/2013 3:49AM

    So emoticon for the Loss of your Sister.

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4RASCALS 3/20/2013 3:39AM

    Sorry for your loss. I will keep your family in my thoughts & prayers.

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BLUENOSE63 3/20/2013 3:33AM

  You are the true spirit of "family" and the very best of human beings...compassion and respect are is the greatest gift we can give each other.

You are in are prayers and thank you for sharing your story with all of us as this is what I believe they call a "teachable moment"

I went through the same thing with my Dad 7 years ago and it gave me great peace to know that he was leaving this world exactly in a manner he wanted. His spirit is with me always as your sister's will be with you

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LIVEDAILY 3/20/2013 3:33AM

    Grace and peace to you and your family.

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PHOENIX1949 3/20/2013 3:32AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DONANDMARY77 3/20/2013 3:15AM

    Wow...sending prayers for your family. May you have peace in this storm.

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ANNASGOALS 3/20/2013 2:46AM

    So sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story about your sister. She certainly has a very loving and caring brother. She is now in a place with no more pain and suffering. May that bring peace to you and your family -- God Bless

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INCREDIBLYME 3/20/2013 2:25AM

    comfort and peace to those of you left behind; rejoice in knowing her suffering has ended, cherish the memories you all hold close to your hearts

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SPASTASTIC 3/20/2013 2:21AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

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RAKRHYME 3/20/2013 2:18AM

    my prayers are with you and your sister...
you have done your best for her and made things easier for her and her daughters... emoticon

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SHEBRI123 3/20/2013 1:25AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARTY728 3/19/2013 1:33PM

    emoticon No one is ever gone as long as they are remembered!

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JADOMB 3/19/2013 12:11PM

    So sorry to hear this, my prayers are with your sister and all her loved ones. I know these times are difficult having lost both my parents to Cancer. My oldest sister has went through two treatments for here cancer and while being very strong and fighting hard, she knows that it's not IF it comes back, but WHEN and how bad. My other sister was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it doesn't look good for her. These are all tough times for the families and loved ones of the ones that fall to these terrible diseases and health threatening conditions. But as you say, it is the circle of life and we must accept it.

As a Christian, I am comforted in knowing that when I go, I will only be leaving an empty shell behind and that I have more to do as I join my Lord and Savior. The rest of my family is Christian also and they too are able to face these earthly situations with a much healthier and comforting attitude. May you and your family also find comfort at these troubling times. God bless

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OBIESMOM2 3/19/2013 11:35AM


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NATPLUMMER 3/19/2013 9:51AM


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DRAGONCHILDE 3/19/2013 8:54AM

    There's not much that can be said; naturally, you have my condolences and prayers.

Your attitude is so peaceful and accepting, it is inspiring. Too often we fear and fight death, when sometimes, its inevitability means it is better and healthier for us to simply accept what it is. You don't have to welcome it, but you just have to realize that it's coming.

Thank you for your sharing; as always, it is enlightening.

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WORTHEYMOM 3/19/2013 8:35AM

    Sending prayers and hugs to you and your family. May the Lord ease your heart and mind.

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WENDYSPARKS 3/19/2013 8:20AM

    Praying for you and your sister...

Wendy emoticon

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TWININGS12 3/19/2013 7:46AM

  I took care of my father for a few years, until he passed away 6 days before Christmas. I know what you are going thru and the burden you have to carry. Remember God doesn't give us more then what he knows we can handle. I gave up my job of 26 years and moved to the Florida to care for my dad and I will never regret giving up a part of myself for him. May Gods love light your way my friend and remember you are never alone. emoticon

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