I Don’t Usually Keep Things

I had a wonderful friend who died a few years ago from cancer. She was only in her forties, and it was really awful, and I miss her a lot.

But I’m thinking about it now and I have a dilemma.

Do I keep my clothes that are now too small, as a cancer wardrobe, or do I donate them? Because of stress eating from the Covid LIErus, I have gained weight. If I get a wasting disease, I will need something that fits, and all of these clothes are really nice – a Burberry skirt bought at a Buffalo outlet mall, and several other things that might come in handy if I lose forty pounds from cells that go haywire. Like many others in her situation, my friend lost a lot of weight when her cells went crazy and attacked her immune system.

I was with her for 10 minutes, in the palliative care unit, 12 hours before she died. Weirdly, it was the same room her dad was in a few years earlier when he died. I have a book written by palliative nurses who say that you should pay attention to the final things that a dying person says. My friend said “Is there going to be a party”, and “I’m sorry”. Maybe she was apologizing for something she felt guilt about and perhaps she was anticipating a reunion in heaven since she was a Bible believing Christian.

We will never know.

Hospital beds should be double, so you can lie with the dying and touch them with your whole body. Let them drape their arm across your chest and rest their head on your shoulder. It would make passing from this life so much kinder.

3 Comments

  1. Could keeping the clothes end up being a self imposed presupposition? It’s up to you, of course, but I say chuck them.

  2. Kenda Summers

    July 12, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Ahhhh this made my eyes well up with tears. What a beautiful idea, and boy so needed!

  3. I remember her tragic passing but didn’t know you were close friends. I am sorry and touched by the loss of your important relationship. There are few of them.
    Keep the skirt and let go of the grim imagery. Remember that your dear friend said…”Is there going to be a party”. My guess is she was sorry to be leaving you but didn’t really since she is an eternal part of the best of life that still brings life to you. Sadness means love grew here like the mustard seed into the mighty tree which provides compassionate shelter. I’ve often thought too of making bigger beds so we could hold our loved ones and make their experience more familiar and safe. My mother would not let us touch her so some people just gotta do it themselves. But there ought to be the option. I’d love to die snuggling.

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