Saturday, January 21, 2012

Zoh Posted this to her blog on Aug 22, 2011 7:59pm

The sky actually IS falling...

Living with terminal illness for any length of time is like an embarrassingly long engagement.
Do I send the gifts back?
One thing: Since this has passed from crisis into a lifestyle, I resolve to allow everybody in my family to figure it out the best they can.

The fact of my dying has no solution.
I can't make it alright or acceptable
to my husband,
to my son,
to my mother.
At its core this is a perfect nightmare for all of us.
I will try to live well each day and gratefully see to the details of being me as I'm able.
But, I can't hold the sky up any longer.

Ten days after it mattered, I found a "clearer" set of Zoh's funereal instructions scribbled in the margins of "Grave Expectations", by Sue Bailey and Carmen Flowers.

Zoh told me (and others), that all the arrangements from who to call to how the service was to be contested. Actually I couldn't find anything in the file marked "After all...".

After a few phone calls to area funeral directors, we discovered that Zoh had chosen "WardMill's". Arriving down there we further bemusedly determined that the funeral home's only recorded instruction from Zoh was a cryptic "No flowers but balloons". But Zoh HAD discussed various parts of the whole post-death process from with each (or all) of us.

It turns out according to the notes Zoh had written, she wanted an Auden poem read, the poignant 'STOP THE CLOCKS".

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message She Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

She was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Again, Zoh was reading my mind.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zoh at the World Famous Creation Museum. Very enlightening.
Zoh posted this to the breast site.
It explains the importance that the boards have for each member alone in their bed, typing away while DH sleeps, connected across the globe to her stage iv sisters.
It explains some of her thoughts about death, in ZOH style.

Midway, Ky Midway, Ky
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 704
LivingIt wrote:
I grew up with a guy named Greg who died at 47 last night after a 4 year knock down drag out fight with his stage IV colon cancer. Greg was not into pain meds, didnt have a lot of medical know how, spent a lot of time on the good river De Nile and did a lot of things diffrently than me. But we were very close. We could talk about our families, our pain, our cancer, our treatment, our lives and deaths together is a smooth beautiful way that gave us both real comfort.
Greg wasn't expecting to die at all. He had a crisis over the weekend and was let out of the hospital on Saturday. By sunday morning he was gone. I hope he was asleep. He was not the kind of guy who would wake his wife, had he been up.
I haven't cried. I know his body was ready. His mets had been spreading and his organs were so beat up from so many drastic surgeries and radiation that he was on a thin thread. I also know that in many ways he was probably not "ready" to give up. The guy was creepy tough, didn't mind pain and was really pissed at cancer. He always said, "Cancer is not going to kill me."
I feel like the wind has been let out of my sails. Greg didn't get to choose his time, and I can't help but think that I don't get to choose mine either.
His attitude was very warrior like. He followed Native American Spirituality and believed (when he was in a decent mood) that when he left his "physical robe" that he would have peace and relief. I believe this to be true. He earned a rest. He never did any hospice or palliative care. He was unable to go to work much, but was still on the roll full time at his company. He didn't want to give his cancer and inch.
I was home today. I dont work - cant. Two days after my third taxotere I was tired and not feeling too great today. I am soft with my symptoms. I use my pain meds and nap and do what is best for me. Today I wanted to bake pies for my family and that is the single thing that I was able to do with the day. I am satisfied. The slow pace used to bug me, but not so much now. I don't know why.
I guess I am afraid of my end time some. Gregs family goes on without him tonight and one day my family will have to do that too. I have been toying with the idea that I could get on this chemo and that it will all just go away. I'll stop thinking about being sick and I'll be able to think about my 9 year old son's high school graduation like I could be there.
Since Greg's death though, I feel knocked back into more.... lets say.... traditional thinking. I know that my chemo is working well and I know that I am in a very good place in my spirit and heart.. But my lifespan is completely out of my control. Its scary. I don't like the idea that my body could stop working when Im still using it!
Nothing new to think about really. Just a jolt. My friend is not gone from me. I feel his funny boyish love and his strong fighters spirit near me. I am glad that his very very painful body is not going to bug him anymore.
Im not usually afraid, but this did scare me. I want to live a long long time and be strong and healthy. I don't like wanting what I cant have. I don't like how completely powerless I am over cancer. I wish I could just shake it off.
So, I wanted to lean into the community here and ask for some kind words or thoughts or invite whatever from everybody. I dont have a stage IV buddy here in my town anymore so I will say as I have before, that this forum means so very much to me.
I am deeply grateful that I am not alone on this journey and that I know that there are people I can talk to about all this buisness who absolutely GET what its like inside this bald head.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Zoh sent this email to the husband of a online friend who had died, "My name is Zoh and I have also faced the death of a partner. I also have stage IV and a husband and kids. There is no way for you to escape the pain you feel now. Much as you might want it to at times, it wont kill you. You will laugh again with great joy, but no time soon. You will eat and sleep like a normal person again, but probably not now. In all of your desperate agony - know that you are safe. You HAD to be in her life at the end time. You can see that - Yes? For now - breath in and breath out. Eat sometimes - shower sometimes - stay where you feel most comforted. Don't push your recovery. How we live through death and grief is a Mystery. You don't have to understand. You don't have to be good at it. You were there for her. You loved her and she knew it and that made her special and safe in a way that nothing else ever could as cancer came and she went. I hope that she was able to receive the gift of your presence, commitment and love during her illness with the same grace that you offered it. Be easy darling friend. We are holding you so close in our hearts." Good advice to her family and friends as well... Thanks Darling

Monday, January 16, 2012

Will Murphy speaks from his heart.

Will, Mark, Susan, Henry Q, Tia, Lois, Larry, Kathleen, and Will P., wish to thank everyone who has extended their kind words, memories and condolences.

The service was wonderful, and here is the first excerpt, as Zoh's strongest Champion shares some memories of his mother.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The first round of chemo did what it does do, so when Zoh noticed that her pillow case was decidedly hirsute, she opted to shave her head rather than wait until she resembled a moth eaten wool cap. Will volunteered for the tonsorial duties,. as the day before mother and son had found a Lexington barber willing to explain when to use the scissors and when to mow a swath with the clippers. The results? Sublime.

Services to be held on Friday the Thirteenth at Milwards Funeral Home on Southland Drive.
Visitation will be held from 9:30 am until the Memorial Service at 11:30 am.

Burial will be at the Midway Cemetary, with a wake to follow at NeverKnow Farm

Zoh moves on

Zoh Vivian Pemble Murphy left this life at 7 am this morning surrounded by her family.