I will admit to some fairly dark moments and “woe-is-me” feelings after being discharged from the hospital earlier this month. Especially as I started to read up on diabetes more. The stats were eye-opening and more than a little disheartening. Basically, my odds for developing everything have gone up, while – statistically speaking – my life expectancy has dropped a few years.
You’d be a little depressed too, right?
No sooner could I begin to digest this new information than I learned a close friend of mine was in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital down in Eugene. This caught me off guard, because she was young (only 40 years old) and in otherwise perfect health. With a husband and 3-year old daughter, both of whom were the light of her life. The diagnosis came as a shock: acute liver failure. Her internal organs had shut down, and she was on full life support. Doctors gave her only a 5% chance of survival.
For two weeks she hung on, but Wednesday morning at 10 AM she passed away. By that point, there was nothing the doctors could do. Her liver was just gone, and her organs were not functioning on their own. Even a drastic measure such as a transplant was not an option.
And the whole world wept.
Or so it seemed. Misty had a ton of friends, and touched the lives of many people in her brief time on Earth. The outpouring of love and support for her and her family was tremendous.
Misty and I worked together for a few years, between 2004 and 2007. We clicked right from the start. She was a spunky free spirit with a wry and sarcastic wit. The woman was taking college courses and more than once paid me to do her homework. I wrote about subjects I had no knowledge of. But she didn’t care. “I just have to turn something in,” she’d say while handing me a $20 bill. How could I refuse? She was there for me when I went through my divorce, and after she left the company, we remained in touch. Misty was my very first Facebook friend.
We last chatted just a few months ago. It was right before Halloween, and we were talking about ghosts. My favorite part of the conversation was this:
Me: I’ve been wanting to write a (nonfiction) book about haunted places in Portland for some time.
Misty: You should! I’d mouth rape a book like that!
Me: Umm, excuse me??
Misty: Ok eye rape! Just means I’d eat it up!
And that was the Misty I knew and adored.
Like everybody else, I am stunned – and deeply saddened – by her passing. Life is so damn unfair it hurts. It’s just the suddenness of it all, the fact that it came from out of the blue without any rhyme or reason, that is the hardest to bear.
Death sucks. (Mom, cover your eyes): Fuck you, death.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s given me a wonderful dose of perspective. I’ve got diabetes.
I’m not going to die tomorrow. Unless I get hit by a bus on my way to pick up insulin. But I’m not going to die from my condition tomorrow. I’m doing a great job taking care of myself now – eating healthy, walking a lot more – and it’s showing. My glucose levels are consistently in the normal range. I feel a thousand times better.
Maybe I’ll kick the bucket at 75 instead of 80. Or 85 instead of 90. Big effin’ deal. I’m lucky I only have diabetes.
Rest in peace, my sweet friend.
And thank you for helping me put things in perspective.
13 thoughts on “Perspective”
I wish you told me about her sooner, I would have applied for her best friend. Peace out man, I am so sorry for your loss. ❤
She was one cool chick, that’s for sure. I’m not exaggerating when I say she had 1,000 friends. Probably a lot more.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. It’s shocking when someone so young is suddenly gone like that.
Kudos on maintaining a more healthy lifestyle!
Thank you. Her loss leaves a big void in the world, that’s for sure.
Mark, what a beautifully expressed post. Man, I got teary-eyed reading this and I didn’t even know your sweet friend. And you’re right, because when something like this happens so suddenly; out of the blue, it’s much more devastating.
I can understand your feelings of putting things in perspective because I remember going through these same thoughts and feelings when my mother was first diagnosed with cancer; then going through an amazing remission; then suddenly going downhill and passing away. It really made me put things in perspective within my own life.
” I’m doing a great job taking care of myself now – eating healthy, walking a lot more – and it’s showing. My glucose levels are consistently in the normal range. I feel a thousand times better.”
Great to hear that, buddy! Yahoooooo!
I remember you going through that roller-coaster period with your mom, and my thoughts were with you that whole time, my friend. At least we were both able to gain perspective out of tragedy.
I’m so sorry about your friend’s sudden death. I’m glad you’re taking something good from it — sounds like maybe she would have liked that.
I couldn’t agree more. She would LOVE the fact that this all-too-quick finish to her life was not completely in vain.
Sorry for your loss, Mark. I’m thinking of you. You seem to have a thoughtful perspective about things right now. Keep up the positive health changes you’ve made so you can stick around a lot longer. Write that book about haunted Portland. Be well.
Thanks, Jess. It’s not even my loss so much as her family’s. I feel for them. I definitely intend to stick to my new, healthier lifestyle. I WILL beat the odds. Just watch.
There’s nothing like an illness to put life in perspective.
Amen, benz. If that’s what it takes to get healthy, so be it!