Your responses to Jen’s post last week on grief have been so encouraging as we learn together how to be fully alive emotionally to the losses that loving fiercely bring into our lives.
Be sure and check out the cover story of Tallahassee Woman Magazine this month for more on the story of this beautiful friendship that crossed the barriers from life to death.
If you prefer, you may read the story here: http://issuu.com/tallahasseewoman/docs/aug_sept2015_online/1.
Yes, I post almost every week to this blog.
No, I have never once been asked to be on the cover of Tallahassee Woman Magazine.
Jen would come to our house at 3am in the night if we needed her, though.
I think I got the better end of the deal.
Speaking of amazing people, here’s another one for you:
Dr. Sartor and I have been a team, fighting like hell against my cancer, when others had given up on me.
Cancer is a lonely disease, but less so when your world-renown oncologist calls you at all hours of the day and day with new strategies and fresh encouragement.
God has used him (and many others) to keep me alive all these years.
This is the person you want next to you when you’re in the Alamo, surrounded, and running out of ammunition.
Even if you are overrun, you go down with a man who did everything, and then did it again, over and over, until there was nothing left to do.
He called me this week.
Here’s a snippet of the conversation:
Dr. Sartor: Your labs are no good, Ed
Me: Yea, I figured you were going to say that. I’ve been feeling like crap.
Dr. Sartor: <long pause> I’ll never give up on a patient who has fought like you have, but I think we’re done, Ed.
Me: <another long pause> I agree, Oliver. Even turning me into a woman doesn’t seem to be working. Plus, my shirts don’t fit any longer.
Dr. Sartor: This is important for me to say (so cut the jokes) – I love you, Ed.
Me: I love you too, Oliver.
Maybe I’m different, but at that moment in time this man’s love felt more important than my life and my health.
We ended the conversation with him promising to call me in the middle of the night if he came up with a cure.
I would be on the next plane to New Orleans.
Yes, to get the cure.
Primarily, to hang out with him, though.
Now then – if you promise not to freak out, it is time to have a conversation about where we go from here.
No more treatments are available to me at this time.
Other than that, nothing has really changed for me physically, though.
Ok, Betsy and I have aged a little, I guess.
This qualifies me for entrance into:
Hospice is an amazing organization of doctors and nurses who have banded together to care for people like me who are sick but just can’t find it within themselves to die.
Already, they have reduced my pain levels and helped Betsy and I to feel less anxious about our new reality.
It is very important that you understand that being on hospice does not mean I am at death’s door.
I don’t want to scare you if you see me around town.
My intent is to be unceremoniously released after I have had time to wreak havoc on another medical institution.
The thing that pushed me over the top though was the morphine.
My bone pain is really getting intense.
We are tweaking the dosage so as to minimize the barfing, but if you want to see the “raw” Ed, as someone wrote recently, admission is free.
My spirit feels so alive and at peace, apart from leaving my family and folks like you, being healed really doesn’t matter to me.
I hope you can understand what I am saying.
So what are we going to do in this new place?
Rest, relax, cry hard, and grieve – but not as those who have no hope.
Live, enjoy, laugh, and be amazed – so much has been given to us and all will be restored.
I release you to these things as we all are learning to walk together towards the eternal life that has been earned and then given to us by Christ alone.
Friday I had lunch with a dear friend and nurse named Karen who always begins our times together by asking, “When’s the last time you pooped, Ed?”
She says this is a medical question.
I call it the “appetizer.”
The conversation always circles around to God in that we both have questions and answers seem to be in short supply in this world.
This week she left a big one hanging in the air.
“Why would the God who brought you into my life to show that He actually does love me then see fit to take you out of this world to make me wonder if He, in fact, indeed does?”
We sat there for a couple of quiet minutes.
Then we walked out together, arm and arm, into the Florida sun.
No real answers,
Just the sufficiency of love.
© Ed Hague. All rights reserved.