Yesterday I received an email from one of the writing groups I’ve joined. I don’t think I’ve met the woman who wrote it, but she sent it to everyone who’s on the email list
for the group:
Last Thursday I had a doctors appointment at [ ]. I expected to discuss new treatments. Instead she told me there was nothing more they could do for me. She estimates I have about 3 months. I’m totally at peace with pending death. I’ve enjoyed this group.
I found myself near tears at this. Heartbroken and unutterably moved at her grace in sending this out, as if it’s just another thank-you note. I picture her like that: the kind of woman who sends you a thank-you note for the lovely lunch and mentions again how pretty your blouse looked. I’ve changed her name here, because I feel certain she’s not the sort of woman who would want her business all over the internet.
And yet, I felt compelled to share it. Perhaps how we face our deaths is the final measure of how we approach our lives. My great-aunt had little cards prepared — stamped and pre-addressed — to send after her death that said, “you’ve received this card because I’ve died.” She went on to tell us special things and asked us to remember her in happiness. My favorite professor declined extreme treatment for his cancer so he could spend his remaining days in the classroom.
So here’s to your “adios,” Grace. May your last months be filled with love and art and beauty. And may you be remembered in happiness.