Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As I drove past the mailroom this morning, I looked toward's Phyllis' regular parking place, knowing her car would not be there, thinking about visiting again then, somehow knowing I wouldn't.

I was at my desk, talking to a prospective student about the program when two coworkers entered my office .... red-eyed. "Not good", I think. I finish my conversation with the student, knowing they were waiting and knowing what they were there to tell me - Phyllis had passed away in the night. I wasn't surprised. I felt she was gone.

I'm still struck by the speed of it all. From sixty to zero in just a few months and I wondered if that was better than having lots of time to prepare. Is it better to KNOW for months or even years that your end is coming? Like the lyrics in my blog title, inspired by Warren Zevon, who in his final months put out his final album. A dark but sadly humorous collection that includes a cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". A warped man he was. He had time to prepare as did his family, at least as much as you can prepare for that sort of thing. He obviously found a creative spot in the sadness to create poetry that would turn into lyrics out of what he was thinking.

Going quickly, as Phyllis did, was tough on her family. It was a whirlwind of hospital, doctors, surgery, Hospice, visitors (like me) that they'd never met but who came to see a friend and bring food (it's what we do). It must have been like a bad dream but, again, was over as fast as it started. I'm sure they didn't have time to prepare. I hope their Native American beliefs will guide them through the adjustment and they will be able to see her off with the help of friends and family.

Mark and I have a "final preparations" folder. Neither of us relish the thought of planning such things and, honestly, intend to hold "wakes" rather than funerals. We have ideas for music;. He wanted Dust in the Wind by Kansas but, geez, that's so overdone. I was a big Elton John fan in the 70's so had picked out Funeral for a Friend years ago but it seems so cliche' now Maybe it's time to revisit our plans. You never know what's around the bend. Maybe I'll go with some Warren Zevon.


Sandi said...

Ack. I'm so sorry. I'll keep you and her family in my thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself.

Indie said...

This is very sad. My heart goes out to her family. The truth is we are all so vulnerable.

Kym said...

I'm sorry. It's hard to lose the people in our lives. Especially, when the end is so fast and hard.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry.
Such a small thing to say in the face of something so big.
When it comes to loss I'm not so good with words.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading these postings while in Oakland to attend Ladyfriend's mother's memorial. She was 61. Brain cancer. We will be having a celebration of life rather than a funeral. Good friends, good food. It's what Barbara wanted.

Because of 2008 being such a shitty year, I have vowed to complete some family things I have been putting off. Life is so short.

Big City Poz said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. I know that the staff members of a school can function as a big family, but it is still not easy to havethis loss tied in with work.

I think that once the process of leaving starts, I'd rather go fast. The hospice part to me is particularly unappealing. I've seen, however, that a survivor instinct kicks in at some point and it often negates plans and preferences.

I hope you feel better soon.