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Friday, July 26, 2013

WARNING: Depressing Post about Grief and Sweet Little Ruffle Dresses

This is a depressing blog post. You do NOT have to read it. Just look at the cute little ruffle dresses I've made yesterday and today for my grand daughter and skip the rest. Unless of course you want to read it, but don't say I didn't warn you.


What does one do when they are horribly sad? When their best friend of 72 years is preparing to die?

What does one do?

Yesterday, Patty's husband, Bob called me to say that the CAT scan Patty had the day before showed that the chemo therapy had done nothing to abate her cancer. In fact things were worse. There was mention of chemo pills, but the statistics were poor to none that they would help.





And what's more Patty had talked to Bob and to her daughter and to her daughter in law, telling each one separately, that she was tired of fighting, tired of hurting, and tired of being afraid.



She said that she wanted to stop all measures, (that weren't working anyway) and to let go, and "to go to God".


I hadn't been allowed to come to visit my friend, those were her wishes. But this time Bob said to just come so I could say goodbye. He then told me to call just before I was to leave town. They live 30 miles from us. So I went to my office. I called the three clients I was to see that afternoon and cancelled their appointments. And then I got in the car to go and called Bob.


He said he was really. really sorry, but he asked Patty and again she reiterated that she did NOT want me to come. I felt crushed, but I had to honor her wishes. I don't understand why (exactly), I can only guess.
And my guess is that Patty is trying to protect me. She's always been the strong one in matters physical. When we were kids if I skinned my knee I'd pass out from the sight of my own blood. Really. I did this for years for many different things that caused me to panic.

Patty, on the other hand, was the one who came to help me get to my dental surgery appointments, stayed to change the bloody compresses afterwards, and held my hand. Granted I've been there for her when she's needed to talk (over the years) for this or that family issue or other such thing. We have truly been there for each other through thick and thin.

She just does NOT want me to watch her dying.

So I came home and cried;
and I sewed.

I had seen little dresses like these in a ritzy shop in Sonoma, CA last weekend and they sold for $62. I kid you not. So I got fabric out of my stash, buttons and ribbons, and little T-tops I got at a thrift store for $3 and whipped up these in a couple of hours! Our littlest grand daughter will be a "girlie girl" when she wears them. Patty would love them.
She's all about ruffles and bows!

This morning when I was checking for messages, looking to see if Bob had called with any news, I found I had some saved messages. Several of them were from Patty. One dated back to November of 2012. It was right before Thanksgiving and Patty wanted to talk. I'm sure I called her back. I don't know why I saved that message.
Then there some from just recently. One on June 1st after Patty had her diagnosis of lung cancer. She was thanking me for "being there" for her.
The last one on June 14th was Patty talking to me after her first Chemo treatment, telling me she was feeling well, good in fact, telling me that she loved me and thanking me for being there for her.

On the 19th of June there is a call from Bob telling me Patty was in the ER after her blood clot and heart attack.

No more messages saved after that. All calls have been between Bob and I.

But I have Patty's voice saved forever more. I have photos. And I have memories that date back to the 1940s.

Oh Patty, I am going to miss you so so so much.

I sent this last collage to Patty today, along with my goodbye letter. I hope she got to hear it. I hope so. But I know she knows how much I love her, and I know how much she loves me. And I hope soon, she will be at peace.







XOXOXO

53 comments:

  1. Oh Lynn. This is so heartbreaking. So hard to know why she didnt want you to come. A beautiful collage you have made full of memories of good times. 72 Years. That is incredible. Such a long friendship. Sending prayers for Patty and for you. Love, Suki

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    1. Thank you Suki, grief is not and easy process. And yes, we've been wonderfully blessed with this friendship.

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  2. Lynn, I hope it's okay to say this: I wish that patty knew how much you would like to be there to say goodbye. I know when a person prepares to die their world by necessity becomes very small ; they do not have strength for more. I saw my friend Willa two weeks before she died and it was precious to me but it was hard for her, hard for her to breathe. I wanted to come again but her young daughter so caring said no, this would need to be my visit because there were others and Willa did not have the strength

    But I know this means you have to do your own closure, instead of with patty and my heart feels for you.

    She will live within you for all of your life. And you know what, I think patty WILL be in that nursing home with you after all ....

    Love to you, patty's BFF

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    1. I think I am coming to terms with how this is playing out. It is definitely a work in process. I did not write the script, nor am I the director. Merely a minor role ... And that's how it is and it's ok.

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  3. I have been praying daily that Patty would want to see you...yes this is a tear jerker...and sooo sad. She is protecting you...wanting you to remember all the good times and not see her at her worst... I am so sorry, I wish she would let you come... Bob probably feels so torn with wanting to honor her wishes, and honor your friendship too... I feel for all involved... It's a good lesson for all of us...that we should also understand the needs of those standing by and honor that, as well as those who are sick... Although I know how difficult this is I hope you can live on your treasured memories and move past this without regret....knowing you have always honored your friend with the highest respect and love!!

    Gorgeous dresses...I LOVE them...glad you are diverting yourself a bit!!62 bucks for something they wear for only a few months is crazy isn't it!! However the love in these dresses is insurmountable!!

    Much love and big hugs to you
    through a mountain of tears!

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  4. Lynn, I read this with great sadness and having lost two very close friends I can see both sides. Patty is protecting you in the way she knows how now - how loving of her. Never never doubt that you are loved by your friend of so many years, but Im sure she wants you to remember her big smile and I also am sure that she wants to remember you as your happy self, not seeing your face sad and lonesome. It's protection that goes both ways. Seeing her friend of all those years might bring on more sadness about leaving this world than she can handle.

    just keep sending your love to her thru Bob and keep close to your own family to support you.

    many xoxo mim

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    1. Your words help a lot. Thank you Mim. And I'm sorry for your losses too.

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  5. A lovely tribute to Patty. Love the Dresses and she would have been right there championing you on to do more. She loved your Art. She knows how much you love here. Everyone pretty much said was I would and have said already to you. I remember my mom in the end.. she just couldn't handle anything but living in her moment. Know we all care and are here for you. <3

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  7. oops. I need to reread things before sending.. how much you love her.. not here and pretty much said what I would have said.. sorry. :)

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  8. Dear Lynn, I am so very sorry to hear about your dear friend Pattie and I do understand how bad you must feel not being able to say goodbye to her. I think her reasons have been amply aired here by the above commenters and I'm sure they are right. How wonderful that you have shared such a friendship for so many years, you have many memories to treasure and that collage is fabulous. The little dresses you have made are simply lovely. Thinking of you. Gina (BT)

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    1. So many memories, so many. We've been truly blessed. Selfishly, I am not ready for it to end! Thank you for your kind words.

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  9. Lynn - this is not depressing - this is you needing to speak about your grief. I am praying for you and for Patti and her family. This is hard - no way around it. I hope you feel embraced by the God of the universe - I wish that for Patti as will.

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  10. Many wise and heartfelt comments here...Patty wants you to remember her as she has been for most of your wonderful friendship....and...she doesn't want to see you consumed by grief ... she too, wants to remember you as her loving friend - strong, smiling.... you shared so much together.... THAT will live on...forever.

    Those dresses are adorable...Patty would love them!

    She loves you Lynn....always remember that,

    Sending you love and strength - and prayers for you, Patty and all her family.

    ♥ Robin ♥

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    1. Yes, this is all true. Her husband has even told me she says she loves me. And I tell him to tell her I love her. So some communication has transpired between us this way.

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  11. Dear Lynn, it is always a blow losing someone we love so much.I think it is now time for you to 'let go' and that's what Patty wants for you. If it was only June this year that she was diagnosed, the shock is still very real for all of you, and will remain for a long time. Just 'listen' to what she is telling you now and send her your loving thoughts- she will get them and know and love you for them. Keep yourself strong at this time. Love love the dresses- they are pure love.

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    1. I am trying to do as you say, but while she's still alive I can't let go. I do send her the message to go in peace when she's ready.

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  12. Wishing strength in so many ways to you all.

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  13. oh Lynn this is so sad. So sorry that you don't get a chance to say a proper goodbye. She'll have her reasons, and I'm sure she means well. Who knows what goes on in other people's heads. Even people we've known and loved for such a long time. It must be really hard knowing you're going to die and having to say goodbye to everyone. Maybe she also wants to protect herself, doesn't want to go through the pain of also having to say goodbye to her best friend, after she has gone through so much already. It's good you made that collage and a goodbye letter. That way you'll still be able to tell her how you feel, even though it's not in person. And it'll be so important to her. Wishing you lots of strength and healing, thinking of you ...

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  14. Thank you all again and again for your kind comforting words. You and they mean a great deal to me. They help.

    I don't share the same beliefs of some of you; for me there is no "after life", no "better place", but Patty does hold those beliefs, and I am so glad she does, as I know that makes this time easier for her. And for some funny to me reason, even though I don't BELIEVE them, they make it easier for me too right now. That makes me chuckle. I'll borrow your beliefs for now to help me through this. Crazy? Maybe. But whatever helps.

    Yesterday I learned that a mutual friend of ours recently buried his father at age 105. He lived a few short blocks from where Patty and I grew up. His son, our friend, took care of him for the past 15 years in that same house he grew up in.

    Isn't life interesting, amazing ... who gets to live THAT LONG, who doesn't? Why? How? It's all such a mind bloggling crap shoot!

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  15. We're all so sorry for your loss - loss of your dear friend, friendship & your strength that you received from Patty. You're in our thoughts & prayers.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Grandma Nancy Sapp

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  16. First the dresses are so darn cute, what a sweet idea. I know your heart is braking for your life long friend. And I understand that she does not want you to see her, some things are just to hard. She knows that you love her...my love to you in this long good-bye, Mary

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  17. Just had to return to send you extra hugs.....Love, ♥ Robin ♥

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    1. Thank you Robin, so sweet of you! Much appreciated.

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  18. lynn, i'm back again too. i wanted to tell you these dresses are darling. i am so glad i now have a little girl for whom i can think about dresses. well, my 4 year old grandson drew wouldn't mind one bit but his parents would kill me.

    i think patty has started her journey already. maybe she cannot make a connection in this life with you now because she is being called elsewhere. myself, i don't necessarily envision heaven, but i do acknowledge spirit souls who will forever watch over those they love.

    love
    kj

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    1. Ok, if this is so... Whatever is so is what I have to accept and believe me I am trying to.

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  19. Dear Lynn, my heart aches for you. I can only imagine the sorrow of losing your best friend. Praying for the peace that passes all understanding to be with Patty and with you in the coming days. ((hugs)).

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  20. How incredibly sad. I feel your pain, even as you shared it. I hope Patty finds peace and you find solace in her wishes to spare you pain.

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  21. Lovely dresses. I hope all you wonderful memories of Patty help you to get through this horrible time.

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    1. Yes, they are. I copied out a photo taken of Patty at my birthday celebration with her last year. She is sitting in front of two huge hot fudge sundaes! Hers and mine. This year we weren't able to celebrate together as she was already sick. But I hold that SWEET memory for the rest of my life!

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  22. I shed a tear at your story. Having lost a friend who was my sister's best friend, the same way not long ago. In a way I wish I hadn't seen her near to the end as that is now how I remember her. I think Patti was protecting you both in her own way, from what would have been heartbreaking. Be gentle in your thoughts of her reason why. Funny how you were protecting us from your sad story by the addition of the lovely clothes to make us smile. Big Hug, Polly x

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  23. Oh Lynn. My heart is sore for you. It is so difficult to lose a great friend. She sounds like a sister friend. Big hugs.

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    1. We were sisters who never quarreled..

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  24. Have you sewn her a heart she can hold and be reminded of your love to help ease her into God's world?

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  25. Bless you Lynn. I have "known" Patty through reading your blog. I know how much you love one another. Friendships like the two of you shared are so hard to find. I am aching for you and for Bob. My step-daughter is in the final stages of life. She is just 28 years old. We have been with her for the past 9 days. My sweetheart John said that these sad final images will be etched in his mind forever..... mine too. I know how difficult it is not seeing her, but she knows you are there in spirit. As you said, she is protecting you..... as good friends do. I believe in an afterlife, but it is a bit different than what some believe. I believe we are here on Earth to learn lessons and help others on their journeys. I believe that God allows us many lives to live.... to learn, grow, and help. I believe that Patty and my Step-daughter Felicia will be free from pain and free to soar. And when their souls are ready, they will return. I also believe that the same group of souls will reconnect throughout many lifetimes. It is my belief that you and Patty have, and always will be, kindred souls. Sending you much love Lynn. Terri

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    1. Dear Terri,
      I send YOU Huge Hugs and to your husband for this saddness you two are sharing with each other and with Felicia.
      I'm "collecting" everyone's beliefs about life and death and whether or not I actually buy the belief, the ideas warm my heart, as who knows, none of us has actually experienced final death and come back to tell about it.
      I remain an open mind.

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  26. Jan a friend of mine was battling cancer in one state while I was undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer in another.Neither of us were well enough to travel to visit the other so I made Jan a snuggle blanket out of soft wool blanketing .I managed to see Jan for a few days not long before she died.May be you can make something like a small pillow or blanket ,mine I embroidered with special things I knew Jan loved then quilted the back. You could make a memory quilt of your friendship perhaps ......

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    1. What a sweet thing you did for your friend. I have sent some hand made and other gifts to Patty, like this. Her husband told me he's boxed them up already to send back to me. I hope she was able to enjoy them for however short a time. I guess it was nothing the family wishes to keep. I think their reality of things is different from ours. It's as if Patty is standing at the station all packed and ready to go, hard for me to conceptualize from my vantage point. I keep hoping she'll call to say goodbye. But that's not going to happen.

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  27. The hardest thing to do is "love with an open hand." I'm keeping you in my thoughts, Lynn, as I've had to let friends go without a final visit also. Prayers for your friend.

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    1. Thank you Lizz for this sharing of understanding. I too am sorry for the losses of friends you suffered.

      I remember a time my mother's good good friend, Isabel was dying of cancer. Isabel's husband would not allow my mother or any of their friends to visit. I don't know if it was Isabel's wishes or not. I know my mom felt bad and sad. I know they were much younger than Patty and I at this time in our lives. Because we were still kids.

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  28. Yes, she didn't want you to see her weak. This is so sad, I miss her too and I never met her. My prayers for you, for her and for her family.
    I adored my FIL and I couldn't see him go, because I was having surgery. But I keep in my heart all the good days, months, years that we spend as happy family.

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  29. I have been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers Lynn. Sending you lots of love.

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Thanks for leaving your comments as I love hearing from you. Your words of encouragement are why I continue to draw!