Friday, November 16, 2007


My uncle Don died this morning. He was my dad's older brother.

I visited him last night. Before I could enter his private room in ER, I had to wash my hands, put on latex gloves and hospital gown tied in the back. He was sleeping in a medicated state. He looked more peaceful in his sleep than he did earlier this week when I visited him while in tremendous pain.

I stared into his sleeping face and could see my father in him. And his mother, too. When I wasn't looking at him, I would stare at the monitor that would sometimes remain flat-line for a moment or two before zig-zagging up and down and I wondered if he would die while we were there, holding his hands. I knew his life was nearing it's end.

I found it comforting that I could feel his warmth through the plastic in my gloves. His life still beating inside him.

I wondered if my dad was nearby in the spirit to welcome him in the afterlife. Surely, his wife Patt was there. She died ten years ago in the room next door in the very same emergency room. His son died earlier this year. Such a huge sorrowful loss in this family.

My mom and I and brother and sister and her boyfriend circled around his bed.

They talked to him. Stroked his forehead. They were so comfortable and natural with him. I just stood there feeling shy and clumsy and at a loss of words. I hoped he knew I was there. That perhaps my presence, though silent, could be felt more louder than any words I could utter.

It's been quite the year of loss.

He is the 14th person I know who has died this year already. Since the beginning of October, I know eight people who have died. Eight!

Another uncle of mine died on Halloween. I've lost two cousins in the Spring. My sister's boyfriend lost his father a few weeks ago. One of my mom's dear friends died the week before that. Too many lives lost. Death doesn't seem to care. It's just plucks people out at random.

Like the woman I knew who died unexpectantly this past summer. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion of giving birth to her first child, she had an unknown heart condition and died of a heart attack during labor. Her unborn son also died in the process. Leaving behind a grief-stricken husband and her family there in the birthing room. How does one deal with that weight of loss?

Her voice is still on my answering machine. I can't bare to listen to it, but I haven't been able to push delete yet, either.

It's just too final.

My heart goes out to the Wallace Family and I'm wishing Tracy an extra dose of love and grace.


Jo said...

I've never commented before but wanted to say I love reading your blog. You are a wonderful storyteller and artist. I'm so sorry for your losses. So many! I lost someone last year and even just that one feels much too hard to bear. Wishing you peace.

doodlegirl said...

Oh Jo! Thank you for visiting and leaving your comment. There is a huge hug from me. Thank you. Your visit is so welcoming to me. Just hanging out with you in those few moments eased my hanging heart. Thank you!!! I am praying for you and your loss. That you feel comforted in your continued pain. I understand. Here's a huge hug to you, Jo. May you feel the warmth of it forever . . .

Michele Miles said...


You've had a mind-boggling year of loss. My thoughts are with you.


Doodlestreet said...

((((((( ))))))))
...i'm sorry, buddy.

doodlegirl said...

Thank you Michele and Doodlestreet for dropping by.

Didja know, I remember going years and never knowing anyone that had died. I think going to Nana's funeral was my first funeral ever and it was in the 1980s and then my dad's funeral was in 1990. This year that ball was hit out of the park. And now I find myself ducking with every turn I make. Weird automatic knee jerks. Fearing to get more phone calls. Hearing more bad news.

I was buying a deli sandwich the other day and the clerk thanked us for our patience while she changed the receipt-paper on her register. The man just ahead of me said "no problem!" and then turned to me and said he learned patience this year after experiencing so much death.
I patted him on his shoulder and told him I understood. But I only understood about the amount of deaths, but not about his new found patience. I find my heart beating more rapidly. I'm more aware of our immortality. But I knew what he meant, as well. That he's learned to stop and smell the roses and that is the patience he has learned. I'm learning that, too.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your words.