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[personal|child] Deaths and births - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-10-22 09:07
Subject: [personal|child] Deaths and births
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, family, friends, health, personal

Yesterday I attended the funeral of [info]kenscholes‘s father-in-law. The event wasn’t about me in any way, I was there to support Ken and his wife Jen and their family with my presence, but as one might imagine, it instilled considerable reflection in me at a time when I’m very conscious of my own mortality. The service was very appropriate and I’m glad I went. For my own part, I did confirm two conclusions I’d previously reached. One, funerals are bad for me personally and emotionally in my current frame of mind. Two, if this cancer goes terminal, I’m having my funeral before I die so I can damned well enjoy it.

Another event yesterday that was only tangentially more about me was [info]the_child‘s thirteenth birthday party. Today is her actual birthday, but one of the kids in her class is having a blowout Halloween party tonight, so we scheduled her kid-friends party for last night. Her extended family birthday dinner is tomorrow. I had six teenagers in my house eating pizza, cake and candy for an hour and a half, then Mother of the Child and [info]lillypond (a/k/a my sister and therefore Aunt of the Child) hauled them off to Fright Town, where a spookily wonderful time was had by all. Best as I can determine, she had a terrific birthday blast of her own: we had a brief conversation last night after the final guests had departed in which [info]the_child quite elated and pleased with herself.

All that made a nice end cap on the day for me, even if my enjoyment of the birthday celebration was almost entirely by osmosis. Today I am mostly sitting still, though a friend will be coming by this afternoon for some visiting. Me, a book and a glass of water. The brain isn’t up to writing, and I don’t have much if any householding to do. Just waiting to see when the Neulasta pain comes back, and how dreadful it will be when it does.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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User: adelheid_p
Date: 2011-10-22 16:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It does sound like the_child had a great party last night and sometimes it's enough that you're there.

My condolences to kenscholes and family. I can completely understand how attending a funeral would be very difficult for you.

I think it's wise to have one's funeral planned even if one is in good health. Earlier this year, a friend and person who was very key in our local science fiction community, Ann Cecil, passed due to cancer. She had no funeral planned and a few of us got together and, with permission of her family, we held a gathering at her house as a sort of celebration of her life. She had hosted a Christmas party for Parsec since the organization was formed. Then the family graciously held a memorial at the local SF con, Confluence. My point is that our community needed these events and because she was modest and didn't want a fuss made over her, she didn't take this into account. I don't think that this something you would make the mistake of doing but I do urge everyone to consider how important these things are to their families/community.
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User: mlerules
Date: 2011-10-22 18:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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mlerules: labyrinth
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-10-22 18:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And now I'm off to another mem'l svc, only this time more of a house-party/potluck gathering, which'll be easier to bear methinks than a funeral home service (lovely & appropriate as 'twas yesterday).

Glad the b-day party 'n' frights went off well. :-)
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User: amphigori
Date: 2011-10-22 18:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The pre-funeral or pre-wake idea if fascinating me. After dropping off a friend at a funeral last week, I got to thinking about all the lovely memories and funny stories people would be sharing - and wondering if they'd been shared with the person while they were alive.

I imagine it'd add a whole other dimension to dealing with the acceptance of one's own death - and might well cause some discomfort for friends and family who are still wrestling with their own acceptance.

But the overall sentiment of "yes, I'm going to die - but I'm not dead yet so let's share memories, stories and love" is such a brilliant one.

Hell, it's really how we ought to be living life every day!

Best of luck with managing the Neulasta pain.
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Jay Lake: cancer-do-not-want
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-10-22 21:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, chances are pretty good that if I go terminal, we'll know far enough in advance for me to have the mental alertness and social engagement to have a funeral before I die instead of after. This isn't a 'wildfire' cancer, doubling rates are measured in months even when it's being aggressive.

The only things that would throw a terminal diagnosis given my current profile are a metastatic bloom or a single-site metastasis in a very unfavorable location that was also resistant to the ever-narrowing chemotherapy options. Medically, I'm far more likely to be in for another year of rough riding rather than the end game.

But if the end game comes, you bet we're doing this, discomfort be damned.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2011-10-23 02:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And we will be right in there with you. I suggest music, major blowout.

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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2011-10-22 19:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Funerals are for the living in my reality.

The Child is now The Teen, and good luck with that Daddy.
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Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation
User: johno
Date: 2011-10-23 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I met your daughter at Worldcon and spoke for 5-10 minutes.

Thirteen? Really?

From her intelligence and poise, I thought she was 15/16. And that's using the Fan Child scale of expectations of a 15/16 year old.

Oh and a message for you Dad, the only time she acted like a "normal" teen when I mentioned your LJ name for her (rolling eyes and all). I think it's time to use "The_Teen" or "Young_Lady".
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User: makoiyi
Date: 2011-10-23 03:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Can I be a complete devil's advocate here? Plan your funeral by all means, many folk do, but why presume it? Yes, of course, down the road. From experience, a mum with cancer and, yes, my young son's death, it is *your* choice. Illness sucks. I know because all this stress has given me high BP, which is minor compared to cancer, but it gives an understanding of days when you are so goddamned tired, dizzy, head pounding, all you want is to lay down and give in. But what keeps me going is the fact there are so many people around me who care, or, who would change dramatically if I were, say, to have a heart attack or stroke because of my health. Not just people. In the scheme of things, I have many animals who rely on me too.

I remember, precisely, my mother saying to me that the docs had given her days, and she looked up at them and said, fuck *you* although my mother was way too polite to use the f-bomb. She wanted to spend time with her kids, her grand kids and her husband. So she did. Ten more years than they had given her. Sheer frickin will power.

So I think, and bearing in mind I am not you, I am not in the same place under chemo, but, I do have *some* understanding. There were days when after my son's death i thought, why bother? Why even try. If 'they' can take a perfectly healthy and incredibly nice guy, why do you even bother trying to live? And despite the unrelenting grief and the heart breaking loss, yes, yes I do want to live. It isn't the same, it will never be the same, but, yes, I have others who need me. And so do you.
I remember my mum after chemo. I remember her after a cholostomy and the tears and, yes, the laughter and the embarassment of that, too.
Life is so friggin unfair and you are absolutely entitled to scream that to the stars. I know I would. But don't give in, don't surrender. *I* don't want you to and I am a complete, ignorant stranger who doesn't even know you. But where would I get my LJ fix? You see? You are needed.
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Jay Lake: flowers-lily
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-10-23 15:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. And I am so sorry to hear of the things you've had to endure.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-10-23 07:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Take care. (And say no to me if you are feeling too tired for more visitors.)
Kari xxx
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-10-23 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Emailed you in Facebook. ;)
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