Showing posts from May, 2011

On Saying Goodbye

Two Saturdays ago we loaded up the car, walked next door to Gil and JD's in Oakland, went into the bedroom one at a time and said goodbye to Gil for the last time, knowing we would never see him again. This was made all the more difficult because he was saying goodbye to us for the last time too.  We spent the week dreading this moment. What should we say? What can we say? I marvel that this moment happens at all. How long have we lived in a world where it's possible to depart from your daily life in the place you call home, travel thousands of miles, be present at the threshold of someone's death, then return home in time to refill your pet's water dish? There's something cinematic and strange about saying a final farewell to someone who's still very much alive. These moments used to belong to the people around the dying - immediate family, friends and partners who understood the end of a loved one's life as part of a physical as well as emotional conti


The day the 1988 Trek 400 that I won on eBay arrived, Gil called to tell us his cancer had spread to both lungs, his liver, and rib cage. He had discontinued treatment and hospice was called in. That was last Thursday. Carolyn and I drove down and arrived at Gil's on Monday. There's not much for us to do except hold his hand, talk a little, keep JD smiling as much as possible and take care of any small things that need doing. Mostly we look on as someone we love so much slips away from us with alarming speed. He sleeps most of the time now and eats very little. His pain seems to be manageable though Gil was always pretty stoic when it came to these sorts of things.  He's certainly ready to be done with this. He's not afraid. I think he's mostly annoyed. This is a messy way to end a life and Gil always hated clutter. I'm struck by the destructive process cancer works on an individual. It's not enough to end a life, it has to consume the person, deface tha