June Breit
(Pain Talk)

----------------------------

One topic that pops up consistently
in the meso community is how to manage pain.
I'm not surprised, as this is generally
the chief concern of all patients
faced with major diseases,
Way back when I started in Nursing,
there were very few options
for controlling pain.
A patient who complained of pain
would have to request medication
(a short acting drug of 2-4 hour duration)
each time he/she felt it was needed.
If the disease had progressed to the point
that the person was deemed terminal,
or they were in considerable pain
the majority of the day, the only other option
was to "snow" them into oblivion
with a heavy-duty drip of intravenous morphine.
Needless to say, these options
were pretty unsatisfactory to the
patients and families involved

Several events occurred to change this picture,
including the establishment of the Hospice movement,
and the development of more sophisticated drugs
and delivery systems.
Pain is NOT a character-building experience!
There are many downsides to unrelieved pain,
including diminished quality of life,
sleep deprivation, depression, social isolation,
decreased appetite, reduced mobility,
and even decreased immune response.
In some cases, unrelieved pain can overexcite
the nerves involved and result in a
chronic over-stimulating of the pain response:
in this scenario, even the slightest touch
can be perceived by the body as excruciating.

What didn't change however were the
attitudes of many practitioners.
Even today, we still encounter
doctors and nurses who are reluctant
to provide the necessary relief from pain,
often citing the fear that a patient will
become "dependent" or addicted.
The management of pain is so important
to health and well-being,
that the organizations charged with
regulating healthcare delivery have declared
it to be a major patient right,
and mandated that all complaints
of pain be taken seriously,
and addressed to the patient's satisfaction
(not the satisfaction of the doctor or nurse).
So what can you do if your health care provider
is not managing your pain as you would like?

First, let's summarize how cancer pain develops.
I've heard practitioners say "the cancer is gone,
so there shouldn't be any more pain".
Not true.
Although cancer itself can cause pain
by pressing on organs or
disrupting nerve pathways,
the treatment of cancer plays
an equally large role in discomfort.
Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can all impact
the body adversely and result in
pain sensations that persist even
if the cancer itself has been eradicated.
Pain is the body's way of signalling that an insult
or disruption has occurred to a body
part or system
(if the insult is beyond the
body's ability to repair it completely),
the pain that results may become chronic

Happily for us,
statistics show that the majority of pain
can be treated by medication
and/or non-drug interventions.
But the first step in relieving pain is to
figure out what is your body is telling you.
You should keep a pain diary for use in
discussing pain with your practitioner.
Try to document when the pain occurs,
what makes it worse?,
what makes it better?,
and describe what the pain feels like to you.
Is it sharp or dull? Gnawing? Stabbing? Burning?
What part of your body is involved in the pain?

Is the pain constant,
or does it wax and wane during the day?
Pain does not always occur in the area
that has been impacted by disease or treatment.
Some pain can be "referred",
that means that the body part involved
expresses the pain in another area,
such as pain from the diaphragm
being referred to the shoulder area.
Practitioners are trained to interpret
referred pain and trace it back to its origin.
Pain is not always a clear cut sensation,
especially in cancer patients who have
undergone multiple treatment modalities.
Their pain may be of mixed origin:
there can be the burning of nerve pain,
the deep ache of bone pain,
and the sharp pain of surgical incisions.
For this reason, along with other factors,
the relief of pain may not entail a
single medication or approach.

Many cases of pain require a "cocktail" approach
to deal with the different sources of discomfort,
such as an opiate for general pain relief
along with a drug for the nerve pain
and an anti-inflammatory agent
Medications for pain can be short-acting
(2-4 hour relief) or long-acting
(up to 12 or 24 hours),
and many patients find they need
a combination of agents ,
a long-acting medication for general relief,
and a short-acting agent for "break through" pain
that arises occasionally and breaks through the relief
afforded by the longer acting agent.

Each person's pain is unique to them
and involves many factors like ethnicity,
genetic heritage, and individual experience and history.
This means that you may need to experiment
with different drugs and interventions
to find what works best for you.
Crucial to this process is a practitioner
who is well-versed in pain management techniques,
and who is willing to listen to you
and work with you until optimum relief is obtained.
In my experience,
surgeons are probably the least effective
in managing persistent pain.
They are used to addressing the pain of surgery
which is usually of short duration
and disappears as you recover.
Consult a practitioner who specializes in pain management
probably the best option is one who is trained
to manage oncologic, or cancer pain.
Donít worry about becoming addicted.
This is an old myth that has been disproved
by extensive research that shows that
cancer pain patients can handle very high doses
of medications with no dangers of drug dependency.
If you find that a medication is not helping the way you wish,
don't give up:
increase the dose or the frequency,
or even try a different medication
or combination of medications.
Again, having a practitioner who is attentive
to your feedback is critical to success.
But the most important factor is YOU
and your caregiver:
don't assume pain is a legacy
you have to learn to live with.
You have fought hard for your life,
and deserve to have the best quality
of life that can be achieved!
You don't deserve to be so exhausted
by discomfort that you haven't got
the strength to go on fighting!
For help in understanding cancer pain
and how to talk to your practitioner about pain,
visit the Cancer Pain website at
http://www.cancer-pain.org/


TO LIVE UNTIL WE SAY GOODBYE
This past week has been a difficult one
for our community.
Journeys have ended,
and voices that used to call out to us
have been silenced.
For me, the sorrow of those losses
has been compounded by finding myself
on a part of the meso continuum
that I had hoped to avoid a bit longer.
I've been lucky to date in that every time
my meso reared its ugly head again,
there was something in the treatment arsenal
that beat it back into remission.
One of the great things about this community
is the unedited and unconditional sharing
of every aspect of our journey.

Some are navigating peaks,
others valleys, but we call out to each other,
regardless of our location,
with descriptions of the terrain
and what we can see from our vantage.
But this time is just one time too many
there is nothing left to employ
against relentless meso that won't stand a good
chance of killing me in the bargain.
Like so many warriors before me,
I find myself faced with physicians
who are honestly stating that they have
nothing to offer that might help me fight
back even one more time.
It's like being trapped in that
archetypal action movie scene
where the victim shoots and shoots
but misses and the bad guy keeps coming.
The victim runs out of bullets
as the villain sneers at the sound
of the empty chamber clicking,
while in desperation,
the victim flings the empty gun
at the bad guy to no effect.

So OK - now I'm here with a steadily progressing disease
and not even an empty gun to throw...
what do I do?
It took a few days of self-pity and panic
to realize the answer:
I do as I've always done
I live.
Our journeys with meso are really no
different from any journey in life,
but the nature of what has brought
us all here,
the disease that rides with us,
has the effect of concentrating
our experiences and emotions,
boiling our life journeys down
to more of their essence,
and clarifying our priorities.
Everything seems more acute,
everything seems to carry more impact.
What would I be doing
if I didn't have meso?
Aside from a few physical activities
that demand stamina beyond
my current capability,
nothing really.

The laundry would still require washing
and meals, preparation.
The cats would still purr on my lap
and solicit petting.
I would still visit my friends
and talk on the phone,
and I would still engage in activities
relating to public health.
I would still watch my favourite TV shows
and videos, read books, work crossword puzzles.
I would still love my husband
and smile at him sitting across the room.
Nothing the doctors have said
prevents me from doing any of those things.
And nothing they said lets me know truly
how long I have in which to do them.
If I were to seriously consider
what meso has stolen from me,
one answer might be an assurance of a future.

But if I stop and think logically about it,
even without meso ,
such an assurance is non-existent.
I might hope to live a certain number
of years based on a statistical median,
but there's no guarantee of my doing so.
Perhaps the answer might be
that it has robbed me of my physical abilities.
But again, life held no assurances
that I would remain physically intact
or healthy throughout my span of years.
In fact, I could consider myself lucky
that I was born whole and capable,
and remained that way for more than fifty years.
I can point to people born into wheelchairs
who would love to have even one day
of such functionality.

Well then, surely meso has stolen the comfort
I took in investing in my life,
with a fear of encroaching mortality
causing me to view joys as potential losses.
Most people go through life without
maintaining conscience awareness
of how ephemeral they actually are.
I haven't enjoyed that relative bliss
meso, has always been there,
the scars and the pain and the pills,
the constant scans and check-ups,
all a constant reminder
that life wasn't really normal.
But there is no "normal" really.
There is only the journey we are on,
whatever it consists of
the unique road we travel that
is ours and ours alone.
There is no map or GPS
or any way to view ahead.
For each of us,
life lasts up to the moment it stops.
No one can tell with any certainty
when that will be for me or anyone I know.
In the past few days,
I've had some people tell me not to give up
and others tell me not to be pessimistic.

Yet I am neither.
Is the progression of my disease,

to this point a cause for general gloom?
Not at all.
I truly do believe that science
is moving forward regarding meso,
and that the increase in treatment options
and clinical trials that have arisen
since my diagnosis in 2002
hold real hope for the future.
I meant what I said at the last Symposium:
the day when meso is no longer a life-ender
is just over the horizon.
It's the desired destination that many of you
out there will get to see,
I promise.

That I may not get there myself
is just the way the cookie crumbles.
I'm not surrendering so much
as preparing myself for all eventualities.
I have not given up on wanting to stay alive,
if there was a treatment out there
that would provide me with a reasonable shot
at more time I'd take it.
And if something new comes along in the interim,
watch out.
I'll be butting and pushing my way
to be first in line!
I'm no different than anyone.

Humans are genetically programmed
to want to live.
To prefer life over death
is a fairly essential survival strategy
that nature has built in to us.
But ultimately no one lives forever.
At some point, and for some cause,
all our journeys end.
That too, is life.

I didn't spend seven-plus years fighting meso
on the physical front - enduring surgery,

chemo and radiation -
only to capitulate and surrender the emotional ground.
I've given meso time and mental anguish
and body parts
(I joke that I've been sending myself
to heaven one piece at a time)
and I sure as hell don't plan
on giving it my life one second sooner
than the moment I die.
All of us here and everywhere,
we each have our lives for a brief period
and no control over how long that period
is to be or what exactly will end us.
The only thing we can do,
the thing we are created to do,
is to live our lives while we have them,
up to the very moment we say goodbye.
That's what I plan to do for however many days are left me.
I have people I want to see,
letters I want to write,
cats who need petting,
and flowers that need tending,
miles yet to go before I asleep.
---------------------------

junebike

----------------------

THE VIEW ADIEU.

This morning, for the first time,
I couldn't make it out to the living room
under my own steam.
Things are progressing fast,
and it has been all I could do today
to ensure that final arrangements are in place
so that Howard has only a single
phone call to make after I am gone.
The phrase "actively dying" strikes
me again as inappropriate.
It is not so "active" a process,
but more of an involuntary ceding
of functionality,
little by little.
Eating seems such a chore,
despite the fact that I am hungry,
I suppose if the food chewed itself,
and leapt down my throat,
I might be interested.
but chewing and swallowing involve
just too much effort right now.
Woke up this morning,
to my great surprise.
Last night, I felt incredibly weary,
and for the first time could sense
that I was truly dying.
Sips of smoothies and milkshakes
are welcome,
as long as I get to heave in
some breaths in between sips.
Hugs, and just being held and gently cuddled
mean a lot right now.
And when I am short of breath
and a hug feel, constraining,
simple hand-holding is a delight.
I need contact to assure me
I am still in the world,
and to feel loved.
I am afraid of seeming repulsive to others,
and it is reassuring to have folks
reach out and make physical contact
even if I can barely respond.
Noise is also reassuring
it is the sound of living and life,
and it lets me still be alive vicariously.
No need to shush and be quiet
or tiptoe around me!
(On the other hand,
don't need the noise to be raucous,
as if there is a great party going
on that I can't attend.)
The "normal" sounds of life,
like conversation, cats meowing,
TV or stereo on, microwave dinging,
etc. are all sweet to me now.
I had thought I might want to read,
but such concentration is difficult and
I prefer just to sit back and
listen to life going on
around me.
Having moments where I confuse
the dream state and reality,
and I have called out several times
in the last 24 hours
with things that made no sense.
Fortunately, every one just accommodates
that confusion by gently re-orienting me
to where I am and what's going on.
No one appears worried or concerned
at what is happening
they just appear to take it in their stride,
which lets me relax about it all.
Occasionally someone weeps, and that is OK.
I cry too at intervals.
But consistent lugubrious sorrow
is draining, and tightens up my airway,
so we definitely try to maximize the
joyous aspects however few and far between
they might seem right now.
I think that is all for now,
and probably for good.
I am tiring fast,
and need to rest as much as I can
I do not imagine I will be
back on this board again.

Before I go,
I want to make certain that
everyone here knows
how very much I love you
love this community!
You are an amazing group of people,
possessed of an incredible spirit
and the deepest possible compassion.
I know for sure that you all have the power
to vanquish this terrible cancer,
and to make people listen to our collective cry
that this disease simply cannot go on robbing
good souls of their hopes and dreams!
It has been my pleasure and
my privilege to know each of you,
and I thank you from the bottom of my heart
for all you do,
and all you have meant to me!
-------------------------

THE VIEW FROM HERE.....

--------------------
Well, I swore I would never hesitate
to share it all with my meso family,
in the hopes that sharing helped someone else.
So here it is....
It became suddenly obvious
that the Sutent was not working.
I was taken aback by the swiftness
with which I went from being able to get out
and have lunch or go shopping,
to being barely able to walk
from my bed to the bathroom,
but here it is
I awoke on Sunday and knew that
I just couldn't
keep on going,
no matter how hard I tried.
Being the stubborn cuss that I am,
of course I tried to force the matter,
but my body has other ideas
and I ended up on the floor on my knees,
gasping for breath.
Time to face facts.
Have scheduled Hospice to come tomorrow,
and Howard is taking off
using all his remaining vacation,
then transferring to FMLA.
Have a funeral home checking into arrangements
and costs,
as I want a natural burial
which is not available in my state
the closest is NY,
which requires some coordination to get my body
transported across state lines.

---------------------
burial

-------------------
June was buried at the Fingerlakes, New York.

---------------------------------

The biggest problem is the breathless feelings
that come over me with the slightest exertion.
My oximeter tells me
that most of the time
my peripheral oxygen is ok,
so what I am feeling is mechanical constriction
of the airways.
There's also a lot of secretions
suddenly to deal with,
so I am working with my doctor
to see what works in keeping me
most comfortable.
It's trial and error for the most part,
although my doctor and Hospice
have both been here before
and have good suggestions as to remedies.
He is my biggest worry
I want him to have the best
memories possible of me and my passing.
Ah me, such maudlin musings!
Until then, I shall try to stay more
on the light side of things
and be thankful for the moments
when life is still good!
Moments like when a distant friend
calls just to check and see how I'm doing (smile)
Love from,
June

----------------------------
Saturday, August 29th, 2009.
Hi June,
I just call whenever I think you
might be able to answer,

or that you could be home to answer the phone.
It doesn't worry me one little bit
if you can't talk to me at the time.
I just know that you are okay
when you answer.
I know it must be so hard for you,
but every time I hear from you
it's a bonus to me.
The "tears" bit is hard because
it does take the energy from you.
I know when Thom died it hurt so much to cry.
It was like my jaw would go into lockjaw
and it really physically hurt.
I put more on to your story yesterday.
It was the things you wrote for the MARF,
I think you know the ones I


"To live until we say goodbye" ones.
You write so beautifully
and clearly that I didn't want what
you say to be lost.
I have you on my site
because it's a way for me to
make sure people always remember you
and what you have to say.
So you will never be forgotten.
While I'm alive, my site will be up,
and people who visit it will see
how fortunate for me that I knew you.
How privileged I have been
to have you in my life.
Thank you for giving this to me.
I will cherish my time with you.
Even if it is just a quick hello
and goodbye over the phone.
Better a short time than no time at all
Love from Deidre
And don't forget the hugs I am sending you.
If you are sitting at the screen
waiting for this then imagine me
here at home sending you the most delicious hug
you have ever had, Deidre!,
Can't say how much I appreciate you calling,
and especially that you don't mind if I'm
able to talk or not when you do.
These days, I'm walking a real tightrope
between needing so much to be a part
of the "land of the living",
and how physically exhausting
the effort to be "up
for people" really is.
Don't want to be a source of sorrow
or be surrounded by tears,
but understand the nature of what
I represent to those I love.
It's a real pickle, for sure.
Wanted to make certain that you knew that,
however far away we are in distance,
you are close in my heart! Love, June.
Deidre! Just got up from a brief nap,
and will be heading to bed proper soon,
but wanted to let you know
I received your most delicious hug
( and it was! ).
Your assurances that I will not totally disappear
is a balm of comfort not unlike a hug
my most profound hugs back to you for that..
Love, June,

Thursday, 3rd Sep 2009
Hi, Everybody,
The Deidre van Gerven website's
collection of letters to and from June,
its inclusion of materials that can
be used to
influence a congressman,
and much more, is truly a labour of love.
Deidre's as well as June's.
What Deidre is doing for us on this List Server
is preserving in beautifully presented
and easily readable form the wit and spark
of an incredible Warrior -- June Breit. from Bec
Thursday, 3rd September. 2009
As I was reading what is on the website,
I was thinking of just how many times June
set me back on my heels with her depth of understanding,
not to mention her wealth of knowledge
(she has a bank of experience and expertise
in the medical field and
also in common sense),
and then there is her feet-on-the-ground humanity
by which she grasps and makes sense of the barely sensible
(I've seen her read between the lines
when a Warrior or caretaker wrote in to ask something
that looked simple but that she saw through
and recognized as complex).
This June Breit is a one-of-a-kind asset to this community,
but I am talking about her as if she were a statue in a park
instead of a human being.
She says in her letter entitled,
"To Live Until We Say Goodbye"
that where she is now is:
like being trapped in that archetypal
action movie scene where the victim shoots
and shoots but misses and the bad guy keeps coming
The victim runs out of bullets
as the villain sneers at the sound
of the empty chamber clicking,
while in desperation,
the victim flings the empty gun at the bad guy to no effect.

Where she is has to be the loneliest place in the world.
I say we can't stop the villain from shooting his bullets,
but we can sure as hell wipe that sneer off his face
by arriving on the scene with a show of support!
The same show of support
will maybe fortify June's spirits,
let her know that she is not alone
right now, that we care about her.
Because she has always
"shed light instead of tears"
(been a true Stargirl,
from the book of the same name by my hometown
and college friend, Jerry Spinelli),
I gave June a wand with a sparkly rhinestone star
on it and told her to say the word "CITFO"
when anything was going on that she didn't like.
I'm here to shout "CITFO"
at the disease and at the asbestos-producers
and purveyors, and you can,too.
(Just between us Warriors and Caretakers:
"CITFO" stands for (Cut It The F--- Out! )
So you can write and tell June
that because her wisdom
has meant something to you,
you are saying "CITFO" to mesothelioma
and to anyone who has had a part in helping
asbestos attack humans like her,
humans we treasure and would keep if we could.
You might even mention a "CITFO" for
the loved one who caused you to be reading this site.
June isn't an antique car we can keep in a garage
and restore when we get around to it,
so if you've been meaning to write to this list,
kwitcherlurken." Speak up!
There's no time like the present
Bec,
widow of George .
 
Tuesday, the 15th September
Deidre! Didn't mean to be abrupt,
am literally in the dying process
and can't get to phone anymore.
Howard will notify everyone after.
Love, June

Before giving June's status
I would like to thank everyone
who has sent their love, prayers,
blessings, and offers of help.
Because of time constraints,
I have been able to reply to some of your emails
but unfortunately not all of the emails.
Even though I have not been able to respond
to all of the emails personally,
I have let June know of your comments.
June also thanks you
for your kind and caring thoughts.
"As for June's status,"
I met with the hospice nurse today
and had a discussion
about June's current condition.
There has been a drastic change
in her situation since last week.
We expect that June will be losing her
seven year struggle with mesothelioma
within the next couple of days
and most likely will not survive the week.
June is resting comfortably
and is not in any pain, Howard

-------------------------
At 12:40 am. on the 24th of September, 2009.
June lost her courageous
battle with mesothelioma.
I was fortunate to be by her side when she died.
She was comfortable,
in no pain, and peacefully passed away.
Both June and I want to thank everyone
for their kind words of support,
prayers, love, and blessings
during our challenging times.
Your support meant a great deal to both of us.
June did not wish to have a viewing
or memorial service.
She is having a natural (green) burial
near the Finger Lakes of New York.

---------------------------
junebreit3.jpg

----------------------------
I SHALL NOT DIE
I shall not die, for though my body
be returned to the earth
It shall become part of the ever living,
ever dying cycle of nature.
I shall not die,
for though my mind disperse
and my emotions wither,
I shall live on in word
and enterprise.
I shall not die,
for as my ancestors live on in me
so shall I live on in my progeny's genetic pool
and randomly re-emerge in them.
And if my spirit is given new life,
then only the worn cage of my living
shall be stripped from me.
And I shall never die

------------------
June was not only on the board of Directors
of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation,
she was ardently dedicated to being an advocate,
mentor, and a patient/caregiver advisor.
Kindly consider a donation,
in her memory,
to that passion of June's In lieu of flowers

---------------------
www.curemeso.org

Howard.

----------------------
About a very special Star girl -- June Breit
Hello to All of you.
I have to write a little about our newest Evening Star.
I am so glad I had the good fortune
to meet and become friends with June Breit.
As her husband told us,
June became one of our stars
in the evening skies shortly after midnight, yesterday,
but that where I expect to find June
is at the zenith of space:
yes, the midnight heavens,
not on the twilit horizon.
Some people just belong at the top
and June was one of them.
Yes, she was a remarkable woman:
she wasn't at all afraid to die
and was hardly even curious about it.
She knew her own mind well
and was certain about how it would be for her ---
that Death was only a part of a greater process.
She saw herself as a sort of loose set of particles
or molecules of beingness that would re-form,
in some other fashion and return
I know this because we talked about it in
a couple of e-mails and in person.
Once, when we were having lunch together,
we talked about why she didn't
buy the notion of God and heaven
while some of us (me, for instance) did. The Way,
which is what she called her chosen belief system,
The upshot of her thinking was that June
feels joined to the entire universe
and knew she was strong in the bodily form
we called June Breit,
so she had no need for a Strength
that is Not-Me
(a need of mine because I'm weak)
or a place to go after death
because she is going to be right here
just in another form.
That she will fit right back into the universe,
I have no doubt - because she elected,
in her thoughtful June way,
to have a "green" burial.
No monuments or metal caskets
that last for thousands of years
(and probably impede the return to the elements).
And she will be in the beautiful
Finger Lakes region of New York
until her transformation is complete.
June wasn't just being "sensible"
when she made up her mind
what kind of send off to have
she was following through
making her decisions based on her principles
ethical and practical and smart!
Not everyone has the courage of their convictions.
Some of us waffle.
June was straight and true,
like a beam of light or an arrow.
She and I talked about her love of cosmology
(the stars)
something her father and she
shared when she was a girl.
I told her about a YA (Young Adult)
book written by Jerry Spinelli,
a hometown friend of mine.
It is called "Stargirl"
and there is a line in it about that Stargirl
"shedding light, not tears."
June loved the line
and I think that's how she would like to be remembered
"as shedding light, not tears".
She sure as heck shed light
with the things she wrote
to help Warriors and caretakers
(she was a mentor to me)
, and she sure as heck
didn't shed any tears over herself that I saw.
She was a Stargirl Phenomen!
It is selfish to want to hang onto someone,
but I am selfish <>and I am going to miss June.
Bec

P.S. I went back and read June's
"To Live Until We Say Goodbye"
and she said:
The only thing we can do,
the thing we are created to do
is to live our lives while we have them,
up to the very moment we say goodbye.
That's what I plan to do for however many days are left me.
Taking June at her own words,
I say she made it,
did the thing she was created to do!
And she was one of a kind.

Because she mentioned in that letter
that she enjoys "normal" sounds -- everyday things
like the microwave pinging
and a cat meowing,
I picked up the phone
so that I could leave June the message
that I'd be willing to come to her
house and meow like a cat
if it would make her smile
but she picked up the phone herself!
I should have been ashamed of myself
for having no common sense
(calling may not have been my best idea)
but I did get the chance to tell her,
that there has been nothing on this ACOR list
about her and that I loved her beautiful letter.

As a matter of fact,
I told her SHE is beautiful
and has my vote for "MBP"
(Most Beautiful Person).
I asked her permission
to write to this List Server
for her so that those of us not MARF - savvy
would still have a chance to know
what she is going through
and how she is managing to do
what she is doing so gracefully.
June is leaving no loose ends
for those of us who care for her
to pick up for her
and so demonstrate that she
means something important to us.
It occurred to me that we at ACOR
could maybe pray for June,
even though she is not "religious"
(her words), but I learned (by asking)
that she isn't averse to having her friends pray
to their various ideas of God for her.
That would be something we could DO for her.
There is something we can KNOW for her, too.
When I asked her if she believed
in something like Nature
since she didn't believe in God,
she told me she believes in the Tao
("The Way")
and I thought if we all learned a little bit
about June's "Tao " /" Way,"
we could also maybe share with her
by attempting to understand what is in store for her.

(The Tao is complicated.
You can learn some of the rudiments
by Googling, Wikipedia,
("The Tao," or "The Way.")
I wanted to know what the Tao had to say
about death and this is what I learned
(from Wikipedia):
"Birth and death and life itself,
from the perspective of Tao,
are only movements and
transformations of form.
This is often used to suggest
selflessness and detachment
to practitioners;
compare with the Buddhist notion of
 _anatta_ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatta)
(no-self)."

So June is looking forward to a "transformation of form,"
not to total oblivion.
In her MARF letter,
there is strong evidence that she is selfless
( she is taking care of everything except one last
phone call for her husband
and she has often selflessly
given her time and intelligence
to solving our questions/ problems
and that she has achieved the "detachment"
of a Tao practitioner
(she shared in detail what it is like
to be both hungry and unable to eat).

I heard the calm in her voice as she spoke to me,
so I believe she is at peace
with her coming "transformation."
If there is a "Thinking Person's Way"
out of this life,
June has found it.
She told me she would like to
"Last" but not "Linger"
and by that I think she meant
she hopes for a graceful exit,
not one second before the time
is right for it,
or one second after.
How do you adequately express your respect
for that kind of humility?
In my world (AA), true humility is rightly relating oneself to God.
In her world,
she sees a place for herself in the universe.
She belongs even if changed.
June's "Way" may or may not
be your way or mine,
but it is authentic and beautiful
just like June!

I don't know if she will have the energy
to sit at the computer and wait for letters
to show up in her mailbox,
but I told her I would forward my Digest form
of the ACOR List Server
whenever there was something in it about her.
Digest mode means that there will be
only one e-mail entry to look for
and the most times she can receive
a digest is once a day.
Maybe that will be manageable for her.
I hope so! Sorry this letter is so long,
Bec ,

Borrow all the beauty
that's round you everyday
Hold each lovely joy that life
has ever brought your way
Store your happy moments
so that every now and then
When your days aren't
quite so bright
They'll bring sunshine
back again


On To Peter and Ann's Story