On March 25...just days ago, Maryanne posted this:
A mere two weeks ago DanaRae was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. They found a mass in her right lung. She did not want anyone to start worrying until we had more information. I mean we knew it was not good, but just HOW not good was still open to question until further tests were done.
By the time Maryanne let us all know, DR (we usually called her DR) was in ICU, her right lung completely blocked, lots of fluid in her left lung and her BP 60/40. The doctors put her in an induced coma and when it was clear that it was close to the end, they were going to remove her from life support yesterday, but, as I said, she woke up and was able to give orders. She had the chance to say goodbye to her husband and this morning she finally passed at 6:25 a.m., Eastern time.
DanaRae was part of our CompuServe group, and is the fourth person in the group to die, the third within the last four months. The rest of you have been put on notice: NO MORE DEATHS FOR A LONG TIME NOW!!!
DanaRae was also my very first internet friend. I had a modem and didn't know what I wanted to do with it. I also had free software for CompuServe, so I joined but was terrified of racking up huge bills by spending time on forums (where all the fun was) which cost money. But there was a practice forum, where you could learn how CompuServe worked, ask questions of more experiened members and try your hand at posting messages (my lord does that seem like a lifetie ago...it was. It was 1995).
DR and I ended up in the Practice Forum at the same time and a friendship developed, as we exchanged messages on the board, and started writing to each other in e-mail. We were both writers, but she was a more professional writer than I was. She had written a marvelous book called "When Someone You Love Has Cancer." It has always been a conundrum to me why this book did not start selling like hotcakes and why I didn't see it everywhere in the self help section of book stores. In fact, I never did see it in a book store.
The book tells the step by step details of the death of her first husband, Walter F. Sinner, also from lung cancer. The book deals with emotions, practicality, and all sorts of medical issues. Josefina B. Magno, MD, president of the International Hospice Association said, This book is real life. It depicts the pain, the fear, the worries, the anger, the guilt, the grief, the confusion and every human emotion that accompanies a cancer diagnosis...An important source of help for both patients and families...
It is ironic that DR died of the same disease that took her husband, the disease with which she was so famliar, and wrote about so eloquently. (It also makes me wonder why she continued to smoke!)
DR and I both eventually got enough confidence (and figured out how to make it affordable) to join the Issues Forum, where we were both active in Women's Issues and started the group that is still close today. It's another of those happy things that I wrote about yesterday.
In addition to being a writer, Dana Rae was also a neat freak. She and I had many e-mail discussions about my cluttered house and she swore she could help me become a neat person. She started with all the clutter on tables and other flat surfaces. She assured me she wasn't so much a neat person, but she was a person who knew about containers. She told me that I could buy some pretty containers and store all of that clutter out of sight in containers.
I went to CostPlus and brought home lots of pretty straw baskets, and colorful plastic containers. I sorted through all of my stuff and got it all put away in those containers. For about an hour, my house looked clean and neat and organized. Then those containers became new flat surfaces to put other clutter. I still have one container that I bought at that time which is filled with much of my detritis that I have not looked at since I filled it, but it has lots of stuff piled on top of it.
I think DR finally realized I was a lost cause.
DR and Pat Peck (who died in October last year) were active participants in the blog written by Bill Dahn (who died earlier this month). After most of Bill's entries, he invited his readers to comment on anything they wanted. Dana Rae, who went as "Lady DR" was prolific. She, like Bill, was dealing with an ailing mother and her very last comment in his last entry was about her:
More prayers for Mom, please. She's back in hospital, no one can tag what's wrong and three docs are in disagreement. Deb has made it very clear than when a decision is made and treatment completed, Mom will go directly home, not to a rehab facility. No idea how that impacts treatment or discharge. I figure Deb has to feel like a yo-yo on an elastic string, at this point, and she's dealing with it alone at this point.
She later added her sentiments after reading that Bill had died:
I'm still trying to absorb the idea of Bill being gone. I've known him over twenty years, met him in Boulder. He's such a caring man and has been so supportive of many. The help and encouragement he offered those of us dealing with elderly parents meant so much. The personal help and encouragement he offered me will never be forgotten. My heart goes out to you and your family and to your mom. Peace, prayers and love
Now Bill and DR (and Pat too) are together again, and their mothers are left without their help, love and support. It doesn't seem fair.
At the end of her book, DR offered hope for grieving loved ones:
In her life, Dana Rae Pomeroy lived those words. She remarried, loved her husband and her dogs passionately. She enjoyed every day, every event, every experience. I would love to know how she felt when she passed over and started a whole new bunch of experiences to savor.Believe it or not, one day the sun will look a little brighter, you'll discover a higher level of energy and you will sincerely smile at someone or something. You'll find a rekindling of old insterests or discover a new interest that sincerely intrigues you, You'll want to go to a social event instead of forcing yourself to go. And you will always be aware of life's priorities and the importance of taking risks and enjoying every day, every event, every experience. This advantage is reserved for those of us who have been there.