Mar. 17, 2012
Sometimes this seems so hard (and the probability of my dying anyway, so clear) that I think, hey, screw all this. I think I will just take it easy, eat what I want and go more easily toward death.This proved to be Rahima's final journal entry. We returned home to Greenfield, Massachusetts, and the symptoms of her metastatic breast cancer intensified, mainly overall weakness and diminishing capacity to breathe. She had her sign. Rahima died at home at 10:54 P.M. on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. We are still in the afterglow of a community memorial service that was held yesterday. In the summer, her ashes will be scattered in the sea at her "mermaid put-in spot" in Scituate, Massachusetts where she was raised.
And then it all shifts again and I dream about marrying Andy, having a long and active life, seeing my children get married, having grandchildren.
And then that becomes a tidal wave crashing over me, telling me that it's a fool's dream.
Two things seem clear (beyond wanting to live — which is also clear).
- I need some joy to my days — whether I am doing the program or not.
- I want some clarity soon. I am praying for it. Either a turning in my health improving OR a clear sign that death is coming.
Earlier in the Hippocrates journal, Rahima outlined the book that she planned to write: "Embracing Life: How to Live With a Terminal Diagnosis." If she beat the odds of dying from triple-negative metastatic breast cancer—what she described as a speck of sand on the beach—she envisioned a new consultant career, inspiring people to live well in the face of death.
Rahima did live well, exceedingly. This blog is my attempt to illuminate just how she lived. It is mainly for myself that I undertake this work. I sorely want to remember how Rahima loved me, how she loved life.
I recognize too that there is a community that formed around the concern for Rahima's health, first with the fractured hip that mended and then with the progression of the disease that took her life. I am willing to continue that conversation, to share with you what I have seen and learned, and I am open to continuing the conversation.
Our CaringBridge journal began on February 7, 2011, after Rahima slipped on the ice on the way to a contra dance and severely fractured her left hip. It traces her recovery process to the point of a near-complete healing without surgery. The story continues on February 1, 2012 in the aftermath of medical findings that breast cancer for which she was previously treated had metastasized. In this fourteen-month period there were more than 15,000 visits to the site, mostly in the last two months.