Let’s Face It… I am Dying.

 These past few weeks have been taking a huge toll on me including mentally, physically, and spiritually.  In the last week life has been turned upside down for many people, including me.  Life as I knew it was changing and panic, fear, uncertainty, and reality began to hit home.  COVID-19 is real.  We have watched it spread across the globe and eventually into our own backyards.  The first in Missouri, then the second, then 10th,  20th, 80th, and 90th and continues to climb.  Then the news came out about the first death in Missouri,  soon the second and third.  Neighboring states were seeing similar instances occurring and it is not stopping. 

Enter in is COVID-19.  I remember hearing about it around Christmas and none of us thought too much about it–we believed it wouldn’t happen here,  we carried on with our lives not truly expecting that one day we would wake up to the news of our first case and then hundreds and thousands to follow.  I have taken notice and I began to plan my strategy for living.  Reduce public exposure, live in my house,  try to stay as healthy as possible, and most of all reflect, maintain my faith, and ultimately consider the WHAT IF?   Then true reality set in…

Here is the reality for me its not if I get COVID-19, it is a matter of when, despite my quarantine self, limited exposure, I began to do some deep digging within my soul.  I heard from people who I have not heard from in years and I realized,  “Nick, this is your life and its flashbacks…”   The deal is that I know my cancer is not going to be cured–more or less treatment is now a quality of life measure–and one day that time will come for the decision to be made.  With a super compromised system in my body that is already being taxed by cancer and asthma I stayed strong for a while, then last week things got real.  

I packed up my desk.  I looked at my 10×10 space with desk empty, pictures still on my wall, snacks still in my drawers, and I looked in one more time and shut off the light and shut the door with a box in my hands and walked away.  Deep in my mind, I thought, what if this is the last time I walked through the hall,  the last time I said goodbye in person to my co-workers, and I walked out of the office like someone who had just been fired and allowed to carry my personal belongings.  It was surreal.  

The first day at home was fine.  My “weather center” became my 8-5 office with the dogs at my feet, I thought this isn’t too bad.  Let the next few days come before me and I realized that being alone, not having that interaction, and missing the daily routine was catching up to me.  

Depression deepened.  Sadness followed.  Fear came swooping.  I began to think about how my life at 41 is pretty good–and most of the things I have done in my life made my life full as possible.  I have met a lot of people who changed me for the better and some who made me stronger.  I remember sitting on the side of my bed Sunday night and I looked up and saw Abby’s urn, and then it hit me.

.I am dying.  

Ironically, I started to talk to people who haven’t been around for a while, I started feeling the presence of my grandparents closer than ever, I began to savor all the moments with those I loved and I began making sure everything was in order and ready.  I snuggled my babies tight, I cried myself to sleep that night. The next morning I work up to a developing cough,  a mild fever, and achy feelings. I shrugged it off, and I tried to carry on, but the thought of “Do I have it?”   “Is this it?”   

Later that day, a woman in her 30s with no prior health issues in STL was the next casualty of COVID-19.  She found out Sunday that she was positive.  She was healthy.  I thought, immediately,  I am not healthy.  I have the worse compromised system I could have and then I started to realize, it wasn’t if I was going to get the virus, it was when.  

Today I made the call to my doctors and they encouraged me to call the COVID-19 mercy line, which I did.  They told me to isolate myself.  They said right now I don’t qualify for the test and that my doctor must request it–Here I am on the phone and hearing this–I was being denied even though I have cancer, asthma, cough, aches, tiredness, and even a low grade fever slightly below the 100.4.  

I hung up the phone.  Somewhat in shock.  I am not going to keep pushing for the test, because it wont change anything.  So, alone I sat in my room.  I thought again, “I am dying.”  

So, what now?  

I thought long and hard about things and that brought me to this point.  Maybe I do, maybe I don’t have COVID-19.  I don’t know, but what I do know is this:  I can’t bank on the 50/50 lottery.  I need to make sure that in the event that I leave this world and I walk hand-in-hand with God, that I leave those here on Earth with a proper send off. 

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know that for someone, somewhere, they are going to hear the news, “You are positive for COVID-19, or your family member is, or someone you know has tested positive. It will hit each of us in some way and I don’t want to be in that moment where I am hospitalized (NO VENTILATOR FOR ME–MY REQUEST AND IT IS IN MY ADVANCED DIRECTIVE ON FILE).  Save it for someone else.  Give them the chance to live and just make me comfortable.   Not that I have a mission to die, but here is the thing, I have cancer that can’t be cured, so if the person next to me can recover and live a full and happy life, by all means give them the chance. 

So, here are my words to you. 

Please don’t cry when I enter a place you have no concept of because you have not yet arrived where I am going.  Remember my funny stories, my passion, my love for opossums and of course my corgi’s.  I know Abby is waiting to be one of the 5 people I meet in heaven.   

Pray for me, not because I feel I wont go to heaven, but the prayers will become the conversations I hear from you.  I lived a great life.  Yeah, I had bad things happen, but, I have also had a lot of good, too. Can I say I will miss you? Sure, I will because the spirit of our loved ones through whatever connection remain with the living.  You must believe that. 

Smile.

Laugh.

Remember. 

Love. 

Life is never promised and quite certainly I may escape this COVID-19 virus and continue to live longer, but at the end of the day, I know and you should know to that “C” is killing me.  There will be a day that I decide, if able, to stop the treatment and allow what is natural to happen.  

I get it we don’t like death. We don’t like the thought of dying.  However, it is a reality and a 100% promise that everyone will die at some point.  I may not live to see 42, 45, 50, 80, or beyond, but I have lived well beyond my years.  I have experienced things some only wish they could. I have achieved most of my bucket list.  I will fight to live, but I am also at peace knowing that one day my life will end.  I don’t fear death–maybe because of some spiritual gifts that were given to me I know what waits after this life.  

To each of you, continue to live, to prosper, to journey through this crazy thing called life.  While I may not be there to answer you text, your email, and my last forecast is done–know I didn’t die in vain, alone, or with any regrets.  I may not get to call, text, or say goodbye to everyone, but everyone must know that one moment that mattered and the first time we met and time we shared together those are the things to remember.  

Perhaps you will remember me for “LAWD,”  my sweet tea, my jokes,  my forecast,  my heart, or just the last text you and I shared or the last time we talked and you never expected it to be the last.  Sadly, one day that happens.  Save the text,  capture it in your mind, and know I am at peace.  

Do I want to die?    NO, but there is a difference of wanting and knowing.  There is a difference of being okay with dying and not okay with it.  I know and I am okay with it.  Death is not punishment, it is our final gift from above.  It is our eternal happiness.  

I always lived by the 5 boxes of relationships… The inner most box which was for my intimate friends, the next one for my best friends/family,  followed by good friends,  friends, and strangers alike.  Wherever you were in my boxes know that I will always hold fondly our memories and our time together.  I will never forget you. 


FYI:  This is not a plea of dying or anything of that nature, it is a blog of my feelings, my heart, etc.  It is about accepting things for what they are and what they may be.  Just know I will live to the fullest until the day the quality of life is no more.  Until then, I encourage you to celebrate life, choose people who WANT to be in your life,  surround yourself with people who make you happy and make you feel complete.  Don’t miss an opportunity to say something to someone you love.  Don’t miss an opportunity to think “I have tomorrow”  because tomorrow my never come.  Don’t miss the chance–that chance is now.   Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.  Don’t fear the unknown.  Hold a hand,  hug tightly those you love and remember without togetherness we would fail to experience life. 

NGP

2 thoughts on “Let’s Face It… I am Dying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: