A member of my bipolar support group, Jim, died from cancer. Mercifully, his decline was quick. He fought it for five years and functioned very well until the last few weeks of his life. My support group is extremely close. All of us took it hard.
Jim had very little, but always tried to help others. He was a retired pastor who was also interested in the latest developments in theoretical physics. I’ve read lay books on Quantum Theory and regret that I didn’t discuss it with him after a meeting. He volunteered for his church’s food pantry. Just six months ago he was asked by MD Anderson to start a cancer support group. He planned to do it.
Less than a week before Jim died I went to visit him. His cancer had spread to his brain, but he was lucid. I spotted his bible on a table and asked him if he wanted me to read from it. He picked Luke. I asked him why he picked Luke after I read to him since I know very little about the bible. He was having trouble speaking. I couldn’t understand his answer. Five days later he died. I saw him in a nursing home. I’m glad my last memory of Jim was while he was in the nursing home and not when he was hooked up to a breathing machine in ICU.
There was no ceremony after he died. At least not here in Orlando. My bipolar group had our own celebration of his life.
I don’t deal with loss well and Jim died the same week as the anniversary of my friend Jerry’s suicide.
I have some other stressful things going on in my life. Half of my local drop-in center burned down. The main building has reopened so they can serve meals, but the part that burned down was what all of us called the “TV room.” The TV room was a cool, dark room with overstuffed couches where the homeless clients could rest during the day. They are afraid to sleep at night either in a shelter or on the street because they may get assaulted or have their possessions stolen.
Many of the drop-in center’s clients won’t go to other places offering a free meal because they are too paranoid to go. That leaves foraging through restaurant and grocery store dumpsters.
Now that the drop-in center has reopened, they can no longer provide showers for its homeless clients because the main building has only one bathroom. That’s the bathroom that has a shower. The TV room had a bathroom that clients could use while the main building’s shower could be used by the homeless clients for personal hygiene. Until the new TV room is rebuilt the drop-in center’s homeless clients have no place to rest or a means of attending to personal hygiene. It could take as long as a year to rebuild the TV room.
I’m giving a presentation about the healing power of art at the Orlando Museum of Art in November. I plan on discussing my recovery from PTSD and alcoholism. I’m also discussing my art workshop at the drop-in center so I can drum up some donations. It’s stressful for me to speak in public, but it’s too good an opportunity to pass up. I’ve been attending Toastmasters meetings to get used to public speaking. I haven’t attended since my first speech because I’ve been upset about the recent events I mentioned above. I cry almost every day and I hope I don’t cry during my presentation. I will try to attend a Toastmasters’ meeting this week.
So I’ve had to put some things aside for now and take it easy.