Tag Archives: passed away
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.”
Your Intuition is the Guide to an Amazing Life
My first husband passed away in February of 2004 after a seven year battle with lymphoma cancer. Two nights before Ian died, we had the most amazing conversation, and he told me all of his hopes and dreams for our two children, Jenna, who was 10 and Robbie who was 8. He asked me to buy the The Lord of the Rings – The Motion Picture Trilogy Platinum Series Special Extended Edition for the kids. He was a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan, and he wanted to share this with his children. He also told me to go and find someone to love. He asked me to find someone that would love our children and raise them as his own. Ian couldn’t have given me a better gift. After he died, I made a list. I made a list of the things I was looking for in a new love.
After a month or two of shuffling around and not knowing up from down, I prayed to God and asked for the following:
Someone to love
Someone who loved the children
Someone who loved me
Someone with no baggage, who had never been married and had no kids
Someone with a secure job that he enjoyed
I know I was asking A LOT! I had kids, a ton of baggage, and I’d already been married. What could I have been thinking?
Four months later, I hit the jackpot! My friend Lisa, who also lost her first husband to cancer, invited me to go out for drinks. It was the first time I had been out with a girlfriend since Ian had passed. Lisa’s new husband, Stan, was the golf pro at the local private club in our town. As Lisa and I were sipping our martinis she said, “Hey, the new golf pro is here . Do you want to meet him?” I took another sip of my martini and replied, “Sure, why not?”
Little did I know that when I turned around on my bar stool, I would almost fall off. This was not because I was tipsy, but because when I looked into David Jones’ eyes and shook his hand, my whole world was rocked. I knew instantly that this man was someone special, and that I was going to marry him!
This reminded me of the day I started my job at Price Waterhouse in San Francisco in 1989. I had just graduated college in Denver, and I went to start my career as a CPA. I was NOT going to date anyone – not until Ian Sharpe walked through the door of the conference room. My first thought was, “Now, there is a guy I could marry!” We were married two and a half years later.
David, called me the next day, and we met for a drink. It turned out his father had passed away of cancer just 6 weeks before Ian had died. David had flown home to Ireland to help care for his father. His sister had lost her husband to a heart attack almost a year prior and was left with 5 young children. Our entire first date was spent talking about death. It was the most amazing date! Who else could have understood what I had gone through than someone who had recently been a caregiver himself.
Someone to love – how could I not? The Irish brogue and the blue eyes! We were married 2-25-2006
Someone who loved the children – David always wanted children, but never wanted to do the “baby thing”. He also had always wanted a son named Robert (after Bobby Jones the golfer). Robert is our son’s name! David voluntarily adopted the children on May 15, 2007.
Someone who loved me – he does!
Someone with no baggage – at age 39, David had never been married, and he had no kids
Someone with a secure job that he enjoyed – David is a golf pro at the local country club and loves his job. Golf is his passion.
Not only did he fit every criteria on my list, he is sweet, passionate, caring and handy around the house!
I followed my intuition both times. Meeting and marrying Ian and having almost twelve married years together was such a sweet and wonderful time in my life. I obviously had a rough time with his illness and passing, but he gave me my two treasured children. And yes, I met David very soon after Ian’s death, but it was right. Since Ian, Stan and David’s father all arrived in heaven at around the same time and knew either David or me, I’m convinced that over a few pints of beer together they plotted a way for David and I to meet. Well, guys – I want to thank you because I’ve never been happier!!! Cheers!