I hear dead people. They live in my phone. Literally.
In my typical fashion, as evidenced by several of my past posts (i.e. My Life Has Been About Death), I’m always preparing for the inevitable death around me (ultimately of my own). Thus, I have a habit of saving special voicemail messages that have been left for me by various dear ones.
Out of the dozens, 5 deceased are currently represented. It’s kind of like having an audio snapshot, instead of a visual one (of which you know I’m also fond). “Some are dead and some are living, but in my life, I’ve loved them all…”~ John Lennon
Most recently passed (almost a year ago now since I began writing this post!) are my brother, Dennis, & a decades-long patient/client of Dr. Metz & I, Deborah. Both happened in close time-proximity. Of course my ‘go-to’ place these days is Facebook, and eventually to this blog. As an introvert, this is the kind of extroversion that is most therapeutic for me. I’m old-fashioned too. I would have loved the days when a courier on a horse would deliver a hand-scripted letter. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, texting & emailing are a little less romantic, but more immediate. I don’t have to use a blow-horn, or the town-cryer, to reach the masses. LOL. At the time I was grieving, I had posted a series of messages on Facebook about my brother who died first, & then of Deborah.
So this next bit is excerpted from that conversation:
My Friend: “Oh, Maggie. I am so sorry that he passed, but as many of your friends & family have mentioned, he is at peace. I remember reading somewhere that many people on the verge of dying hold off somehow until their loved ones leave the room. Not sure why – perhaps dignity or trying to spare the loved ones pain? Interesting nevertheless… Thinking of you!”
Me: “I have heard this as well, personally, many times (animals do it too), I think, for the reasons you mentioned. Plus, It’s a very sacred & private act, to die…I think it might be easier on the one leaving too. It must be difficult to leave the bonds behind & make that lonely leap. I’d want to give that kind of transition my full attention without distraction, even if those near me had loving intention & attention…It is so mystifying. Conversely, in my experience those dying also ‘wait’ for folks to arrive or for opportunity to say goodbye. They hold on, have one last rally, wait for everyone to leave, & THEN die!”
Me: “Lord have mercy. Crying again…My dear & loyal weekly chronic pain client of 8 years (Dr. Metz’ for 30), Deborah, is on hospice care. I just called to check on her & she was too weak to talk, but could listen. I told her, as I always have, that I love her & will miss her. I was told that she gave me the peace sign which was always our parting gesture. She needs ALL the loving peaceful thoughts you can send. She had endured more than anyone I know. We always joked, she’s waiting for her ‘marshmallow elevator’ to come down & provide her with a soft & gentle exit. (((♥)))”
Deborah did make an impact on me as well through all her life stories, the amount of mental/physical/emotional pain she endured, the fact that I had to become totally fragrance-free in all my personal & cleaning stuff. Dr. Metz was the only doctor who would ever give her proper care & attention, often for free &/or discount. We are the only ones she trusted to touch her. I was gentle soft & then he came in & wrangled her little frame. Amazing. For good or for bad, I think it’s why she’s lasted so long.
When one does this kind of work, one can’t help but come to know a person intimately. (I’ve always said, if need be, I could identify any of my clients by only their hands or feet, or the feel of their skull. Any professional body worker probably would). Deb was a champ, like no other. I thought to tell her of her ‘proud athlete’ status in this way, because, even though I didn’t know her back in the day, apparently she was an extreme body builder & long-distance swimmer. She came to the office the last time in a wheelchair & only 3 house calls after that. If you had seen her, you’d have thought her a 77 lb, 5’6″ warrior, dressed in an armor of coats, masks, hats & gloves…I only breech confidentiality because I had her permission. She’d want people to know & have compassion for her & other chronically ill, chemically sensitive folks like her.
Life puts Death into perspective from Day One. Coming in to this world, is all about letting go, with each & every passing moment. Early on our parents experience that with their babies growing up, & then it flips & becomes about us letting go of them. And our contemporaries. And ourselves.
Death puts Life into perspective. That, is one of its Blessings. Every moment, & how we use it, is sacred. I take this chain of events as an opportunity. Maybe I’ll still be able to keep my soft heart, not get so attached & traumatized, but will learn to face death & loss in a new more positive way. Death is what Life is all about. I’ve had enough experience, personally. It’s time for a cool change.