Mary M. Wrye

I realized that I posted this last week under “introductions” instead of “week 1 discussions”. So this is what I posted…

I have read the Preface and through Chapter 3. I really like the was Bill writes. It feels like he’s sitting next to me telling me his story. I was particularly struck by a few things. First… standing with families as they sit “the death vigil” with a loved one. It is that moment that they realize there are no more minutes left to change something, say something, forgive, ask for forgiveness. I have watched gratitude for a life well lived. I have watched anger, fear, guilt. I have set with a family member while they died with the rest of the family in the ICU waiting room because they wanted to be there, but they just couldn’t be physically present in the process. “Come get us when it’s over” they said. I realize that some folks can sit vigil and some can’t. It in interesting that you can detect the type of relationship between the person who has died and the one who is grieving by the response at the time of death.

I experienced some of all of that when my brothers, sister, and I sat vigil with my mom the last week of her life (she died about 2.5 years ago). She was unresponsive but we could hear her breathing for the last three days. The night she died, it just suddenly went quiet. She was 93, tired, and ready to go. I knew it would be a relief for her, but I was her main caregiver (she lived in an assisted living facility and I lived 2 blocks around the corner). I grieved and was relieved all in the same breath.

I was especially taken with Chapter 3 – Bill’s own cancer journey. I have been invited to stand on some really sacred ground with folks. They tend to thank me at the end of a heart-to-heart talk, but it is my person opinion that it is their sacred ground and the only way I get to stand on their sacred ground is by invitation. I find it a privilege and honor to be invited onto someone’s sacred ground. I like the orientation/disorientation image.

I look forward to reading Chapter 4… and beyond.
Thank you Bill for leading this discussion.