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The right way to say goodbye…

I am having the best time.

I’m going to a party this evening for my friend who is being cared for by hospice as emphysema closes in on her. She is one of the most colorful, alive, brilliant women I have ever known, and I know she won’t be with us much longer.

Last Monday, I mentioned that my canine soulmate, Vinny, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and is not expected to make it a month.

There have been a lot of tears lately, but I’m in a euphoric moment because nobody is going to a meeting with the Grim Reaper without a celebration. I have always wondered why people wait until their loved ones go before telling the stories they would tell at a wake. Forget the wake. Share the moment in life. That’s why I am going to party with my dying friend and a handful of other wild women.

And ‘tho my sweet Vinny is starting to show signs of his illness, they are greatly mitigated because he is being fed so much people food, getting huge bones and a brand new baby every single day. He gets to sleep on my pillow in my bed and I spoon him at night. I know he has never been happier, and so that makes me happy. We are going to have one hell of a goodbye month. He is alive. He is not dead.

You might wonder why we didn’t do these things all along. Well, my friend knew I thought she was the coolest 73-year-old I’d ever met. I certainly told her that and laughed endlessly with her. And, Vinny and I never wasted a moment. I could not have given him a baby every day and fed him steak, chicken, watermelon, jerky, etc. The house would have been overrun by dog babies and he would have weighed twice what he was supposed to weigh. But, that dog knew how much he was loved.

But, as we say goodbye to our loved ones, we can either shut down or lighten up. We can lament what we are losing or relish in what we have — and had. My sadness is still there, but there is also real joy. It’s in these moments of immense grief that I find such intense gratitude. I have been blessed, and it is a moment to relish in these blessings.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

1 Comment
  1. A wonderful little book that captures the feelings of losing a beloved pet is “Rescuing Sprite” by Mark Levin. It is a quick read; so simple, but touching and comforting.

    As for a book to deal with losing your friend to emphysema—I don’t have a book to suggest but perhaps there is comfort and understanding for a grieving individual by reading Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4.

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