Today Sue Vincent shared what may be her last blog post. It’s so like Sue that it’s a message of hope as well as gentle regret.
Sue has given so much and so freely—to family, friends, and uncounted thousands she’s touched online. This post of loss and love is deeply personal. But it’s also universal. The world has faced loss and grief on an unprecedented scale over the past year. Sue is part of that pandemic recording. It might not be the coronavirus that ultimately beats her (a far older and even more egalitarian cancer will be credited with that victory) but it played a lead role in delaying treatment which might have bought time.
So here’s my challenge. Please share this post. Please share a tweet and add names of those you’ve lost this past year. Because the world needs to remember every loss, every person whose death was solitary, whose family said their lonely goodbyes instead of gathering around to mourn. #GoodbyeToo
The Last Post by Sue Vincent
This may be the final post that I get chance to write for the Silent Eye… that decision has been taken out of my hands. I spent much of last week in hospital, having, as many of you know, been diagnosed with incurable small cell lung cancer last September. It has been an interesting and informative journey on so many levels as familiar things have been stripped away and a gift of love left in its place… rather like the tooth fairy leaving something of real value in place of a discarded incisor.
First to go was the illusion of near-immortality that gets us through life, one way or another. We know there is a certain inevitability about life leading to death, but we tend not to apply it to ourselves until we are forced to pay attention. Dealing with the situation that made me sit up and listen meant that the body came under attack. As its fitness levels diminished, my job went… and so did my face and figure. All core things with which I have identified myself over the years.
Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Even language conditions you to that… ‘my face’, ‘my body’… ‘my life’, forgetting that we borrow the raw materials of our physical existence from Mother Nature and that they will, one day, have to be returned.
Bit by bit, the human version of one’s identity is stripped away. You are too weak now to dance, couldn’t climb a slope, let alone a hill, if you tried and are going to have to be pushed in a wheelchair… the way you have done for your son all these years, in a complete role reversal. Except that he is still stuck in the wheelchair and you can’t even trade places to make it a good deal. Because there are no ‘deals’ at the end of life.
So, eventually you accept that you won’t make it to retirement. Your voice changes, disappearing every so often. Then, an eye goes… and not in some fixable way. So you can no longer drive the thousands of miles that have been your joy. Or see to paint or write with ease, or even watch the birds on the feeder. And while you are given lots of hope about the outcome while they wait for test results, it is not a surprise when you are told that the cancer that had started in your lungs has now set up multiple homes in your brain.
Or that the ‘months’ you had been given have now been reduced to ‘days to weeks… if you are lucky’. [click here for rest of this post]