January 27, 2000
Lana's List of Things to Do
11-15-47 to 6-14-00
In the two and a half years since my diagnosis, I have come to accept my own death as inevitable (it is for everyone, just more real to us who face it constantly). At first I was very, very upset by the deaths of people I had come to know on the Club-Mets-BC list and then gradually I began to feel that it was less an ending than a new beginning.
I have thought a great deal about what it will be like. I believe I will recognize all those wonderful spirits I have known. Since time is eternal, there is no need to measure it so there will not be the sense of "waiting" for loved ones - the marking of time and waiting is only here on earth. There is almost a sense of wonder and curiosity growing in me about it all.
I too feel great sorrow when I think of the pain my family will feel watching me go through the process and the loneliness and adjustment my dear husband will go through. I am fortunate that my children are all grown. I have had the opportunity to see them launched successfully and happily with good jobs and loving mates. There are still many life events I would love to be here for - the birth of grandchildren being the highest on my list. Is there ever a point in our lives when there is not something to look forward to?!
Like others, I also want to leave tangible evidence of my love and have written separate journals for my sons and husband and letters to my stepchildren and others I am close to. I've organized some family pictures and need to be working on the rest and am also trying to complete a family cookbook since many of our family memories are centered around celebrations that included good food. The boys actually prompted that project when they asked for their favorite recipes and "all the Christmas cookies you always make". I intend to go through my personal effects (jewlery, books, clothing, etc) and begin giving them to people I love. Bob Stafford did that and it accomplished two things - it left less for Cherie to deal with and he also made sure he remembered all of those he loved. I think the gifts mean more when they can be given in person. It is not so important for me to hang onto my "things" any more.
When a ship sets sail, many stand on the shore and watch as it gets smaller and smaller. Just as it is about to disappear from the horizon someone says with sadness "There she goes." At the same time, however, that same ship appears first as a dot and then with more definition as it sails toward its destination and someone excitedly yells "Here she comes!" And with that anouncement, the crowd excitedly gathers for the greeting.
- Here are some things I am working on right now for my peace of mind:
Things I have completed:
- Updated our wills
- Medical power of attorney for my husband
- A DNR order at the hospital (I do not wish to be resusitated)
- Discussed my wishes for cremation and some of my ideas for a memorial service
- Things I am working on now - tangible evidence of love:
- Sorting all the pictures into groupings for my children and my husband (my husband found some really great album/boxes for this purpose)
- Deciding who gets what of my personal effects as keepsakes. I am also giving some of my things away while I am still living to people who are important to me and documenting the rest that I wish to keep until I die.
- Collecting all my recipes in a computer file hopefully to publish for my family and friends
- Going through my clothing and keeping only what I use so there will be few things for my husband and children to clean out.
- Keeping separate journals that I started for my sons and husband when I was first diagnosed. I write specifically to each of them about things I remember or want them to know. Some things are practical, others are thoughts about their strengths, things I love about them, feelings I have at the moment.
- Other ideas from list members that I would like to do:
- Transferring old super 8 tapes to video for my sons
- Making videos of me reading their favorite childhood books to play for future grandchildren.
- Writing letters to family members and friends to go with the keepsakes.
- One more must do:
- I need to visit with Hospice and get literature to understand what is provided and know when to call them.
I feel pretty well right now, so I want to do these things now while I have the energy. When my time does come, I will be at peace knowing I have I have prepared and have given as much thought as possible to helping those I love remember the love I had for them.
Thursday Jan 27, 2000