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my friend inspires

My friend with pancreatic cancer is hanging tough. I had lunch with him this past week and he told me he believes he is going to get through this and why shouldn't he? The odds may be long but thinking otherwise is not going to help him either. I am very impressed by his attitude and seeing him grounds me and reminds me that I have no problems in comparison. He spends his days rather routinely and since his wife and two sons are not home, it leaves him craving the company which I am only too happy to provide.

Meeting one on one allows for an intimacy of discussion that a small group would not. He has told me that he prefers this format and so do I; if others do the same it will spread his time with visitors all the more.

I told him that he is living his life more honestly than anyone I know. His existence is stripped down to a bare bones reality and there is no window dressing of distraction and false obligations to sap his energy. I know he lives in his mind more than he would like but there is something very pure about eliminating the fake things that pass for importance in our daily lives and shield us from reflecting on our mortality.

For him that is gone and his demeanor and expression reflect that. There is much serenity there even if you know that there must be horrible moments of dread for what may come.


Comments

  1. During an illness in earlier years I was given three weeks to live. At that time, relationships with the people around me became paramount, be they hospital staff, fellow patients, friends or family. The point to each day was to keep loving and giving it out.
    I’m much older now and have learned that the first person I must keep loving is myself. If I don’t do that I’ll have little love to give to others. Your blog reminds me that this deal includes loving my transgender self as if today is my last on earth.
    Your musings on guilt and secrets are also relevant. What I keep secret I keep in a place of fear, not of love, and I deny that part of myself to anyone who wishes to relate to me. I diminish my integrity by hiding a piece of my reality. Guilt frequently feeds into the fear of revealing myself as transgender. It is often confused with shame. We feel guilt for what we do or fail to do. We feel shame for what we are. Social pressures encourage transgender people to feel both.
    Guilt and shame coming from external social pressure are frequently toxic. It was a useful exercise to do a guilt and shame inventory of my life, allowing me to identify those instances of guilt and shame given to me by others’ prejudice, fear and ignorance. My freedom and sense of self-acceptence grew greater. Those facing death well are gathering together the whole of their reality and giving it out in what may be the final plunge into active living. I send your friend my best wishes.
    Carole Fraser

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  2. thank you for this wonderful feedback Carole. We are reduced to our core selves when we face something as traumatic as an illness and I know when I had my stroke this helped me to begin examining my own psyche and all of the guilt and shame and secrecy that I had fostered over my lifetime. At a certain point in time one becomes tired of hiding from others and we strip down to the essentials of what we need to live in emotional, mental and spiritual health.....Joanna

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  3. also exposing my transgender nature has given me much in the way of unexpected gifts. I never imagined that this would be possible but eliminating my fear was the first step and most important step.

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