Friday Firesmith – One Year

One year ago tomorrow, the 2nd of April, death took my girlfriend, cancer took her. The process was very long, three months, it was a very short, three months, and it was over on the second day of April, which happened to be a Friday. I had written about Hospice, and how I thought it would happen soon, my posts were written ahead of time, I was still writing, because writing keeps me sane, and the people here, at Bits and Pieces, were keeping me in one piece, more or less.

There was a lot of comments, a lot of feedback from people who had walked that path, a lot of people praying for a miracle, people hoping for the best, and there was Jon, always there was Jon, keeping in touch with me, offering to let me keeping writing if I wanted, or not, if I wanted, but his support never waved.

Some of you were there with me, some of you are new, and don’t know about this. But I am here to tell you the people whose names you read today were there for me in ways that mattered a year ago, and still matter to me, deeply.

If someone you love is dying, accept the help. Accept anyone who will speak to you, who knows what you feel, who empathizes with what you are going through. I am not an easy person to reach, but in the time of dying, the people of this site rose up, and I felt as if I was less alone.

It matters. It mattered to me then and it matters now. For now, I know what this is like, and when someone tells me a partner, someone who would have likely been a wife, is dying, I can speak the language, words learned in great pain, and greater need. There is a process to dying of cancer. It is slow motion, but it happens very quickly. I hope you never understand that last sentence, but if you do, you will know.

More than anything else that has happened here since the beginning of Friday Firesmith, Jon’s decision to allow me to keep writing about cancer was one that kept me from falling apart, kept me grounded, and in the end, gave me a view on my own life I had never seen. I can never thank Jon enough for this, but now, he too is gone.

I did not see that coming, none of us did, but it did prove that once again, we are more than just a website out there on the net, in a way that really matters, we are a family.

I’ve gone back and read the comments, felt the sorrow of that time, but I am still fully grateful for the people here, and the love and support that was given to me.

Never, ever, will there be a moment of my life I forget losing someone I loved, but I will also remember those who stood by me.

Thank you again, everyone.

Mike Firesmith.

16 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – One Year”

  1. I read your post about your girlfriend last year and it really helped me work through my grief for my parents who had died not long ago. Your writing was very honest and thoughtful! Thank you for putting my own grief into words.

  2. I’ve always loved your Friday Firesmith. I look forward to it every week. I always read, I may not comment, but know that I always read.
    My heart broke for you a year ago and I still feel for you. I know the healing takes time. I lost a dear friend, more like a brother to pancreatic cancer. It hurts me to this day.
    The loss of Jonco was a blow to us all. If people think that you cannot make real friends online, I say they are absolutely wrong. Take a look at this community. I dare anyone to dispute the loving support so many of us have found here. I’m so glad Kris and the rest of Jon’s family have decided to keep it going. I cannot than you all enough for keeping it going. I also thank you Mike, for still writing.

    Ok, I have to go find out who is cutting onions.

  3. I’m fairly new to your blog, but I understand about online friends. I had several hundred on Facebook. One day, I go to log in and FB decided my Pro-Trump and anti-covid vaccine posts were detrimental to FB and I was banned. Some of the people on FB were friends, not just acquaintances.
    I’m sorry for your loss.

  4. People always offer their help. Sometimes they secretly hope they will never be asked to help, but they always offer. And they are secure in their secret hope because so few actually do ask for anyone’s help. But I have found that if you ask for help, it is there. I have two elderly parents. My mother cannot be left alone for more than about 20 minutes. My father is taking care of her, and he’s tired. All the time. This Christmas we all got sick, not with HMPV (look it up; bronchitis &/or pneumonia only for a long time). It was overwhelming. I asked friends for help. I was careful to only ask for the help I thought each person was able to give. They came through for us. It was truly a blessing and relief.
    Any help someone can give you enables you to work through your grief, or rest from your illness, or accomplish 36 hours of tasks in only 18 hours.
    All you have to do is ask. Still holds true a year later when your grief finishes the “year of firsts without him/her.” So, ask.

    • BSBrown, I got a lot of help without asking, but I also had people say, “If there is anything I can do just ask,” And most meant it, but some did not. I was impressed with the number of people who showed up with food, cleaning supplies, and just waded in without asking what needed to be done. We got back from the hospital one day to have a half dozen people cleaning house, washing clothes, cooking, and airing the house out. Right now, I have a damn good support group around me, I’m not drinking right now, and I worked myself into exhaustion today.

  5. Chick, it seemed like the pandemic cast a pall on all the joy in life. Death roamed free, and took from us all, plague related or not. But it makes me appreciate the people I do have left even more now. But we have to keep going, in memory of those we loved, we can never give up on living.

  6. Mike: I hope you continue healing from your loss and maybe find romantic love again.

    I know it will be hard, but it might happen. My father-in-law found love a few years after my mother-in-law died way too young from cancer. A singer/songwriter I have become friends with lost his first wife in a horrific car accident (from an illegal incident that caused the accident; she was in the wrong place at the wrong time) that almost killed his kids, too. A few years later, he also found another wonderful woman to love; they got married and had two kids. Still happily married, but he still is too upset about his first wife to sing the song he wrote in memoriam about her. And it is a touching, bittersweet song.

    And like others, I do like reading your musings here and glad you are able to continue writing.

  7. Amanda, all grief is intensely personal. But grief is also very human, it belongs to us all, no one can escape it. If in any way I helped you see your way through grief, thank you.

  8. Mike, when this happened last year I was thinking how big the world is but yet so near/small on line. Your writings are always on the mark and I love reading them. My parents are both 80 and still going (a lot slower now) II hope I have friends like yours when I need help when the time comes.

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