Michael Carter, RIP
My younger brother died last month.
I had the immense grace of being with him and my sister as he breathed his last, gentle breaths.
Now, we are two where once we were five.
Michael Channing Carter 1954-2014
Michael (already disabled with a back injury and poor, with no insurance) suffered tremendously for 15 months, beginning with abdominal surgery, septic shock, coma and major stroke in ICU. He survived all that only to encounter one health crisis after another in the months that followed. In the middle he had cancer, too. He could not walk, nor could he speak or write because of the stroke. He went through radiation, chemo, more surgery and was declared cancer-free. He was an optimist and full of hope, seeming to come back from every setback with new determination to recover a meaningful quality of life.
On his 6oth birthday, after another surgery, he was told that his tissues were dying, that there was nothing more to be done. He entered palliative care and hospice. They asked if he was afraid of death. He said no. They asked him if he was afraid of pain and the process. He said yes. They told him they could help with that. And they did.
We were able to access a music channel that had peaceful, calming instrumentals, Celtic, New Age...in that vein. It played the entire time. This, Pacific II by William Ackerman, was playing during those final moments six days later, pure serendipity. A song from one of my favorite albums. It wasn't until I listened to it again later that I realized how uncannily it mirrored those last breaths and long pauses.
So I am once again deeply grieving, wrestling with that question that comes up for me again and again: how do we accept the suffering of those whom we love?
I am sad and unmoored right now. But carrying on.
Blessed be. Namaste. Love, love, love.