Thursday, November 17, 2005

I Heard The News Today...

*Warning: this is not a happy feel-good post. If you came for a laugh, scroll down my blogroll and click a link. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Today I got the call that I have been dreading for five years. A friend of mine passed away. She was 36 years old. And right now I am so angry at the universe that I don't know what to do with myself.

Her name is Tracy. And though I never actually met her, I considered her my friend. She was actually the best friend of one my best friends here in Florida. Ever since I have known him, C has talked about Tracy. He has told me how wonderful and warm and funny she is - was, I can't even get used to saying was about her - and how she was the first person to reach out to him here in South Florida. They would walk their dogs together and help each other through the poor Ramen Noodle times.

And then she started coughing. And wheezing. And constantly feeling sick. She went from doctor to doctor, until finally she was diagnosed with Alpha-1, a rare genetic lung disease. She was told she would need a lung transplant, an oxygen machine, that she may never be able to work again. She was 30 years old.

Over the next six years this girl was rejected by her own mother and siblings as being "too much work", was released from her job, had to give up her dog, and was forced to go on Social Security. Her step-father, a prince among men, stepped in and began taking care of her. She spent her time in and out of hospitals, dragging her oxygen around, and going to group counseling. The others in the group were elderly, crying about not being able to see their grandchildren grow up. Tracy would scream, What about me!!! I won't even have children! I won't ever even have another date again! What about ME!!!! But it was a silent scream. Tracy would never say these things for fear of hurting their feelings. She was dying, and worrying about people's feelings.

Last year she finally got her lung transplant. Even with it the doctors only gave her six-eight years to live. The day she got her transplant, 15 other people got lung transplants as well. All went well. Except for Tracy's.

The lung tore in her chest. The pain from the surgery as well as the tear, from what the doctors said, was beyond anything we could imagine. Tracy was in the hospital for six months after the surgery. She was going to need a new transplant.

In a decision I can't even fathom at any age, Tracy decided she could not go through it again. Her pain was so great that she chose to die at 36 rather than live this way.

For the last few weeks Tracy has been comforting her stepfather and preparing her funeral. She told the doctors to stop giving her the medications necessary to keep her alive. C has been frantic, unable to spend as much time with her as he has wanted. He went to see her this past weekend. Tuesday night she died.

I have been crying for the last hour. Non-stop. And I think I'm about to throw up.

Why? Why does a beautiful young woman who never hurt a soul die in such agony? Why was so much of her life taken from her? Why are there so many bastards in the world living to a ripe old age?

What the fuck is wrong with the universe?

Edit* 8:00 pm - I just found out that Tracy died very peacefully in her sleep. At least there was one tiny mercy in the end.

33 comments:

yournamehere said...

Life is sometimes so unfair. It defies logic how fucking unfair it is.

barbie said...

Brooke
I'm really sorry about your friend. There are no answers for your questions. I wish there were. Peace to you...barbie

Egan said...

Thanks for sharing Brooke. You honestly brought a tear or two to my eyes with this compassionate story of yours. I wish you the best of luck coping with her loss. What a tragic plight for someone so young. Hang in there!

mamalujo1 said...

Because now your passion reaches out to us, and we think about our loved ones and our friends, and we'll remember how much we value them. We will hold them close, promise to do everything we can for them when they hurt, love them. The same way you loved a person you never met. That's about the best I can do. I'm sorry this young woman died. There is no logic. There's just the rest of us.

Calzone said...

Sorry sweetie. I wish there was something I could do.

Knitty Kitty said...

I wish there was something I could say.
The universe is fucked, your friend shouldn't have died.
She sounds like an amazing person.

Evil Petting Zoo said...

I'm sorry for the loss. It sounds like many people lost when she passed. As for the universe, I don't know what's wrong with it but there has to be a silver lining.

Dan-E said...

my deepest condolences for you and your friend. thanks for sharing, brooke.

Melliferous Pants said...

I'm crying with you from California. Tracey sounds like an incredibly kind and caring person, despite suffering greatly herself. I'm sorry for the world's loss.

Neil said...

This post was so sad. I completely understand your anger at all this. These things never make sense. I would like to say something to make you feel better about the injustice of this, but I really have nothing to say. People have been complaining and yelling at God or whoever is in charge for thousands of years. I think it is important to remember how lucky we are to be here and not be sick and try to live our life to the fullest. It's not here for us forever. At the same time, we should all be like your friend's step-father, who stepped in to help someone in need. Let's hope that he is blessed with good fortune and a good life for his good deeds.

There's nothing wrong with being sad about this. It's only natural. It also shows me how compassionate you are -- feeling so much for someone you don't really know.

The real me said...

If you ask "why" too many times, you'll drive yourself crazy.

Just cry, then mourn, then heal.

kate said...

I know what you mean about the universe being unfair. My little 11 year old brother was being tested for Cancer earlier this year, and we had to go to a childrens hospital numerous times. These were six year olds, ten year olds, walking around with their chemotherapy or sitting in wheelchairs being rolled into their upteenth surgery. Nobody deserves to suffer or to die, and it is especially hard to grasp mortality when you see such innocent people like your friend, and these children die. It just doesn't make sense.

I am so sorry.

Satan said...

Sorry mate.

Marel Lecone said...

I'm so sorry--for both you and your friend. Tracy was definitely a special lady . . .

Bill said...

This is very sad and I have nothing to offer that doesn't sound pompous. But I will say I don't think the universe is either fair or unfair. It simply is. What we choose to make of these things is where any meaning lies. And it sounds like this woman, and her step-father, made some choices. I'm not sure I would make the same choices, but I would hope I'd have the balls they seem to have had.

Monkey said...

Thank God for her step-father and her friend Chas. I am so sorry Brooke. There are no words. I've lost 3 friends and family members to cancer before they were 35 and it never makes sense. It just doesn't make sense.

Thank you for sharing your grief with us.

Monkey's Human

Ruben said...

I'm sorry that you friend had to experience so much pain, but at least now her suffering is over.

gone said...

This is too much tragedy in too little time for me. I know what I tell myself in times like these that works for me, but I won't share unsolicited existential drivel right now because I know it feels to be on the recieving end of it. And I just found out that my friend, Sam, deliberately threw himself in front of that car...he was 20, so I am myself confused.

I agree with "the Real Me," cry, mourn, but CELEBRATE, then heal. I am convinced that the dead do not wish us to suffer unnecessarily, and it's better to celebrate someone's life than to prolong the mourning of their loss.

A hefty bout of drinking should do the trick.

I'm so sorry.

JJ said...

I'm sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

boo said...

so sorry for your loss Brooke *hugs*

Lo Lo Lova said...

Oh Brooke. I am very sorry for your loss and saddened by the injustice in this world. Years ago, I lost a friend who was burried on his 18th birthdy. When my son was born, we got very close to another mother in the NICU whose baby, Anthony, was so sick and never recovered. He eventually died, and it broke my heart.

It's so awful when it's someone so young with their whole life ahead of them! I just think that as cliche as it sounds, these people are in a better place with no suffering. And I try to think of them as guardian angels who look out for us. I had 3 miscarriages before my son was born, and I know he has those 3 angels looking out for him. I also know that Anthony is his angel.

Your friend is now looking over you and C. She will always be with you in your hearts. God bless!

Jo said...

I don't have anything intelligent or even comforting to say, but my thoughts are with you. It's so hard to lose people this way. I'm sorry for your loss.

Spirit Of Owl said...

I'm so sorry Brooke. It's clearly not fair at all. My heart goes out to you, and everyone who's suffered through Tracy's godawful illness.

Jaxe said...

Brooke, i am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. god bless. *hug*

ginonymous said...

there's nothing i can add that hasn't been said or felt, or that won't sound trite. fair isn't in the cards when you're talking about life, is it? she had her stepfather, she had C, and it's not enough. sometimes it's seems there's never enough.

go hug your friends, call your family. tell them you love them, just because we never say that stuff enough, and cry if it helps.

love to you brooke.

Sizzle said...

tracy sounds very brave. death is so hard to wrap our minds around and even more so, our hearts. it is good for you to express your feeings and to get support from your friends and family. no one has the magic answer but we can all sympathize and hopefully that helps a little.

you honor her life by sharing her story.

take good care of you,
sizzle

Brookelina said...

Thank you all so much. What great people you are. For whatever reason, Tracy's death really hit me hard. Writing about her and what she went through really helped me to sort things out. It also made me see how lucky I am.

You guys rock. I promise to get back to silly/slutty stories pronto.

Egan said...

You feature silly slutty stories on this blog? Huh, I never was all that good at reading comprehension.

Übermilf said...

Well, I feel like a pile of crap for complaining about clothes.

I'm sorry, Brooke. What a heartbreaking story.

There's no way to ever know "why" this happened. It's a sad, sad thing. Unexplainable.

sunshine said...

I'm so sorry ... for her, and everyone who loved her.

The truth is, any one of us could be gone tomorrow as well. Live life to the lees, as someone once said. Our time here is short.

Wish I had some words of wisdom that made this easier to bear...I had some similar news recently about a college friend who died of melanoma at 36. I still get depressed thinking about all that he will miss in life.

Moral of the story -- buckle up, wear your sunscreen, get your check-ups and appreciate your blessings. Hope you feel better soon, too.

MoDigli said...

Reading this made me mad, too. But I think just sharing Tracy's story for all of us to read, and linking to that Alpha-1 site, helps to spread the word about a disease I for one have never heard of. I'll say a prayer for Tracy. I think it was very brave of her to handle things the way she did. I'm glad she passed peacefully.

Girl With An Alibi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Girl With An Alibi said...

How beautiful that soul must have been... no, how beautiful she STILL is. How great and powerful the love and compassion that woman IS capable of that she could touch you so deeply having not even met her. And all of us too. As tragic as it is that she suffered so, it is really no great wonder that such sweetness could not be contained by the physical world. And the loss for this world is a triumph for her who finally broke free to soar as she was meant to. Bless you. My thoughts are with you.