Yesterday my wife and I attended what I think could only be taken as a farewell party.
A few months ago one of our neighbors, a dear friend, went to her doctor complaining of pain. Testing revealed a malignant tumor at the end of a femur. Further testing revealed malignant tumors in lungs, liver, and brain. Metastatic cancer.
For some time she’s been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy but that has now run its course. She’s in home hospice care and is receiving palliative care only. She’s moved in with one of her daughters, a nurse, who’s married to a physician. They live in a lovely, large home, all on a single level, in a semi-rural area. Her care could hardly be better.
Yesterday family and a very few close friends gathered for a barbecue. We hadn’t seen our friend in some time. Unsurprisingly, she had lost her hair and a considerable amount of muscle mass. She’d always looked quite youthful but was now looking her age. She could rise from her wheelchair with some difficulty and did so to greet us.
We weren’t shocked at her appearance but we were saddened.
I think that everyone there recognized that this might well be the last time we saw our dear friend in this life. A difficult mixture of sadness and joy.