Tag Archives: Inspiration
This blog post is part 2 of a 4 part series. I thought this series may be helpful to anyone who is facing the death of a loved one or knows anyone that has passed away. At times you may find it difficult to read, yet in the end I hope you can see the inspiration and gratitude I found in this 24 hour period.
After kissing Ian goodnight and ensuring he was comfortable and safe I gave instructions to Marc, Ian’s brother, and Pierre, Ian’s best friend, as to what and how to administer any medications Ian might need. They were going to take the night shift as I was exhausted. He had had his first dose of morphine around 8pm which is why I think he was sleeping so peacefully. I was relieved to have Marc and Pierre there as it was the first time since our family had returned from Seattle that I wasn’t alone with Ian. After having the hospice nurse tell us, earlier that evening, that it could be weeks if not months before Ian would die, I was ready to sleep. I hadn’t slept in almost 48 hours.
I walked down to my daughter’s room and wrote in my journal about everything I could remember from the day. I felt things were happening which were bigger than me and I wanted to remember every detail. I sat on my daughter’s twin bed with the blue satin comforter and white fake fur blanket which we had bought in Seattle at the kids Pottery Barn and shipped home.
I dropped my journal to the floor and laid back and looked up into the canopy circle above the bed which flowed down with white gauzy material accented with pink and blue streamers. The puppy and kittens on the chair rail wallpaper boarder played and cuddled. The blue lattice wall paper above and the pastel pink, blue, yellow and green wavy stripped wall paper below made me feel safe and loved. The mass of stuffed animals I pushed to the floor plopped down and settled on the floor along side the bed. I found Jenna’s loved to death “Yellow” blanket as she called it under her pillow. It was the blanket that Jenna first laid down on when she was brought home from the hospital after her life threatening surgery at birth. You could hardly call this piece of shredded material a blanket, but the warmth, safety and security that it gave Jenna was beyond what a full sized blanket could provide. I nuzzled “Yellow” and held it tight as I prayed to God and my angels. I prayed that when the time was right that they would take Ian quickly and painlessly. I had heard too many horror stories about people dying while we were in Seattle. I couldn’t bear that happening to Ian. I was confused as to how long this was going to go on as the doctor had said one thing and the hospice nurse another. I thought back to the moment that I pulled the kids into Rob’s room that day and had told them I had bad news – that, “Daddy was going to die.” How Rob screamed – how Jenna ran to Daddy – how miraculously Daddy was coherent and available – how it went better than I could have planned for it.
I drifted off to sleep while praying and running through my thoughts on the day. I awoke in a most breathtaking place. I was surrounded by gleaming white and gold open aired buildings. A brilliant blue sky with glorious white shimmering clouds floating through the sky. People, spirits, hurriedly, scurrying from one place to another preparing a huge feast, banquet, party. It was full of excitement and decorations and so many souls. My angels said, “Lisa, we are preparing for the arrival of the Great Ian Sharpe. We have been preparing a long time and the time is near for his brilliant soul to come and join us!” I had such a sense of euphoria and anticipation. As I continued to observe an announcement was being repeated by a tall loving soul, with two spirits following behind him gonging the most beautiful bell tones, “The Grand Mr. Ian Sharpe is about to arrive!” The floors of marble, gleaming clean and love surrounding everything. The sense of anticipation was palpable. The place I was in was so much more than I could ever describe because it was like nothing here on earth. It had to be Heaven. I was caught up in the moment watching all that was happening when trumpets sounded and then…knock, knock, knock – “Lisa, Lisa wake up. We think Ian just passed away!”
This blog post is part 1 of a 4 part series. I thought this series may be helpful to anyone who is facing the death of a loved one or knows anyone that has passed away. At times you may find it difficult to read, yet in the end I hope you can see the inspiration and gratitude I found in this 24 hour period.
It was about 10pm, I had gone upstairs to get ready for bed. Ian was sleeping peacefully as I walked by the bed to go to the bathroom. I turned the water on and let it run to get hot. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought I got through another day. I wasn’t surprised by what I saw, dark circles under my eyes, gaunt cheeks, pasty white skin and haunted eyes. I gazed at the reflection and noticed that the waist of my pants was bunched up where the leather belt had drawn the belt loops close together so my jeans didn’t fall down. I had lost about 15 pounds since we had arrived home three months ago. Given the fact that I didn’t have any weight to lose on my 5’6” frame I looked on the verge of anorexia. Food had lost its taste and I had more important things to take care of each day. My dirty blond, shoulder length hair needed highlighting, my dark roots were beginning to show more than I liked, but leaving the house for a 2 hour event wasn’t going to happen. As I stared into the mirror, I lost myself. I had crawled into the mirror and burrowed into the blue hollows of my eyes. I stared and stared back. I didn’t recognize myself and yet I knew who I was and what I had to do – I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to run and never come back, but I knew who I was and I knew that I was in this for the long haul, no matter what that meant. Till death do us part.
I brushed my teeth feeling the bristles on my gums thinking of what was to come. As I washed my face, the hot water felt good and bad at the same time. Good because it made me feel something, bad because it felt like a flame licking my face. Such routine in such chaos. I went to the closet and pulled on a t-shirt and some flannel pajama bottoms. After getting my night clothes on I turned to walk back into the bedroom. The bedside lamp on Ian’s side was on and the rest of the room was dim. The two windows on either side of the king sized bed were closed and the curtains were drawn. I couldn’t believe that our bedroom had been turned into a hospital room in the last few hours. There was the boxed air mattress on one side of the bed, which I would have to figure out how to use and place on Ian’s side of the bed in the morning. Also there was the freshly delivered plastic covered shower chair and walker which were pushed into the corner by the television. A bedside commode was also brought over, which I was thankful for because I didn’t think Ian would be able to ever walk to the bathroom again. The oxygen compressor was on and making a loud whirring noise. Ian didn’t seem to be bothered by the noise, and I was so relieved that he was getting the fresh clean oxygen that he needed. I walked to his bedside. I had showered him earlier in the day, which I never thought I would be able to do. The thought of it felt so demeaning for both Ian and me and yet when I took him into the shower and washed his shrunken 125 pound body, the reality of it became beautiful and lovely. He was a man returned to a child. He sat innocently, depending on me to clean his body. He had been a robust 230 pound man 7 years earlier, before being diagnosed with Lymphoma.
As my eyes wondered over the king sized bed with the cream and tan satin duvet cover, which we had purchased almost two years prior for our ten year anniversary, I caught sight of the new wedding band on Ian’s finger that I had given him a week ago as a surprise Valentine’s Day gift. His fingers had gotten so small due to his continued weight loss that his original wedding band was swimming on his ring finger and he finally had to put it in a safe place so it wouldn’t be lost. He had mentioned once or twice over the years that he had wished he had gotten a yellow and white gold band, as it would have been more versatile. I decided that I would get him a yellow gold and platinum band, one that would really last. It seemed extravagant, as it cost over $1,000 and yet when I handed him the gift and he fumbled to open the ribbon wrapped package and saw what lay within, the tears in his eyes made every penny worth the expense. He was so grateful to be able to show his love for me by wearing his new ring.
I continued to follow my gaze up to Ian’s sunken face. He looked serene and ravaged at the same time. He was in no pain while sleeping which was a blessing. Yet his face showed the stress and stain of fighting this terrible disease. The scar on his neck seemed to grow as his body shrunk. It was the original sight of the lymphoma, a swollen lymph gland which after removal never healed properly and left an angry scar. He had undergone 3 bone marrow transplants, one a year after his initial diagnosis, which was in 1997, and two more during our 7 month stay in Seattle, where we lived with our two children in a hotel for over seven months so that Ian could get the best cancer treatment in the country. He had also undergone hundreds of countless horrific experiences trying to fight his way out of this terrible type of hell. His cheeks were sunken, his brown hair a wisp of its former self, his skin sallow and hanging. His mouth had become distorted; his teeth seemed disproportionally too big for his small face. It was almost as if his skull was peering out from beneath his skin. At the time all of these changes had happened so gradually that it didn’t seem so striking. I could really only tell when we went out in public and saw the way people would stare at us, then reality was brought home to me – that things weren’t right. I bent over and kissed Ian’s forehead, “Goodnight my love, sleep well.”
Every morning I take my dogs, Bronco and Tux, for a walk across the street through an enchanted little forest which leads to a secluded town park. Today I was hoping for some inspiration to help me write this blog – and I got it. A basic principle of the art of living happy is to live in the moment and not worry or fear what may happen – because if you worry or fear what might happen, then most likely you’re going to ruin the current moment for no good reason. That’s exactly what happened to me today.
Most days we don’t run into anyone. Only twice in the last three years have we run into kids doing drugs – the park is across the street from the high school – so you would think we would come across students more often, fortunately we don’t. The minute they see me they drop their bong and go tearing through the woods back to school. More often – and again maybe once every two weeks or so – we run into neighbors walking their dogs. Java, a scrappy little Cairn Terrier, is a friendly little guy and my small dogs love to greet him and then go on sniffing and running around. The problem is with Ginger, a 50 pound Pit Bull/Doberman mix.
Ginger was rescued by some very nice people. The problem is these very nice people don’t know how to handle a Pit Bull/Doberman mix. Ginger has been very aggressive toward my dog, Bronco. Tux is smart enough to stay away and usually stands between my legs when Ginger comes bounding up. Bronco, however; is overly friendly and races up to Ginger and the next thing you know Bronco is on his back and Ginger is barking, growling, and snapping. This confrontation in the park has happened three or four times.
Well, then it gets better. Ginger’s owners allow her to run around off leash – and in fairness I allow my dogs, all 16 and 12 pounds of them, to run off leash too. The issue is the fact that Ginger will run through the forest, cross the road and dart into our yard – when we are sitting on our front porch minding our own business. The three times that I’ve seen it happen – God only knows how many other times it’s occurred – I was able to get my dogs inside before Ginger got up to our door, frothing at the mouth.
The whole point of this involved story is that this morning, as the dogs and I cleared the forest path, I saw a parked car. I immediately feared that it was Ginger’s owner’s car. I started to look around and worry. I kept my dogs close and was concerned and terrified that Ginger may be on the loose. I wasn’t sure if the owner would keep her on the leash or if she would suddenly appear around the corner and leap on Bronco. So for the entire 20 minute walk I was consumed with these horrible feelings. When we finally rounded the last corner to the summit of the park, I realized that Ginger was no where to be seen. Sigh…
The problem was, I had just ruined my tranquil morning walk, because I feared the unknown. Granted, I had very good reasons to worry – as past events had proven. However; in order to create more happiness in your life, you must not react to events that aren’t occurring. In retrospect, I should have noticed the car and just kept on walking and breathing in the luscious green colors and observing the small bits of blue sky peeking through the clouds. If Ginger had shown up, I could have dealt with it then. Tomorrow I’m going to practice the art of living happy, and stay in the moment.