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28 March 2013 / stageivhope

And so we say goodbye.

I assume that many of you know already, but Arijit died at 10:30am on March 22.  Below is the email I sent out to close friends and family.

It has been almost a week since then, and yet it feels like forever.  I have a hard time keeping track of the days; the past two weeks all flow together into one continuous blur of sickness and improvement and deterioration and grief.

I plan on keeping this space open, at least for a time, as a place to work out the thoughts and feelings that race through my head and my heart.  I don’t yet understand this thing called grief—I doubt I ever will—but as a snooty English major, I believe in the power of words to comfort.  Perhaps once I put these things into words will they begin to make sense.

***

I know some of you have heard the news, but I wanted to tell you all (semi)personally:  Arijit died this morning.  He had been deteriorating in recent days, but he went quietly and gently, comfortable and free from pain.  He was surrounded by love, with me by his side and Pancakes snuggled up with him in the bed.  It was, in the words of his hospice nurse, the most peaceful passing she had ever seen.

It had been a rough week, as he had been exhausted and spent most of his days sleeping; when he woke, he was often very confused and disoriented, and his wakefulness was very brief.  However, he did have some moments of clarity and awareness, and I will be forever grateful for those times when I got the real Arijit back.  I got to hold him and hug him, and be held and hugged by him.  I got to tell him how much he meant to me, even though I know he already knew.  I got to talk to him and hear him laugh.  The last lucid thing he said to me was, “I love you.”

There are not enough words to thank you all for the kindness, support, and love we both have received these past two years.  Arijit was so incredibly fortunate to have such a vast and loyal network of friends, and he was so deeply appreciative of and grateful for each of you.  He wanted you all to know how much he loved you and how much it meant to him to have such wonderful people in his life.  I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for him, and I am so grateful that I married into such an amazing group of friends and family.  I have never known anyone who could inspire others—including complete strangers—to strive to be better people the way Arijit could, and the fact that he saw his inspirational acts as simply the duties of a decent human being says more about the kind of person he was than my words ever could.

My heart is broken, but I am comforted by the fact that I was loved, and will always be loved, by one of the greatest men to have ever lived.  As much as it hurts right now, I know that I got to spend seven fantastic years with my soulmate—that’s more love and joy than most people get in an entire lifetime.  I will carry Arijit with me forever, and will do my best to be worthy of his love and leave my world a better place than I found it.  Just like he did.

In one of our last conversations, I had told Arijit that the world would be a much darker place without him in it.  He told me I was wrong, and that while things would be hard, the world was a beautiful place and would continue to be beautiful after he was gone.  I have a hard time believing him, but I know he would not lie to me, so I am trying to keep this in mind as I figure out a way to get through life without him.  His 32 years were far too few for this world, but I will spend the rest of my life doing what I can to spread love throughout the world and continue his legacy of compassion, optimism, and hope.  I hope you all will, too.

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7 Comments

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  1. jeannie moore / Mar 28 2013 4:31 PM

    We’ve never met Heather, but I am so sorry you lost Arijit. Perhaps you’ll find comfort on my friend’s site:https://www.facebook.com/tomzuba1

    He knows grief, but wants to share a new way to LIVE with the death of a loved one.
    thinking of you with tender thoughts,
    jeannie moore
    volunteer CCA central AZ chapter
    patient navigator

  2. meh227 / Mar 28 2013 4:51 PM

    My brother had stage IV colon cancer that metastasized to his liver. His liver was covered in the disease. The colon tumor was essentially removed by surgery. Basically, his job fired him. He was no longer working but was supposed to pay hundreds of dollars a month for Cobra. The hospital, the employer, the insurance company didn’t care. They only cared about the money. He passed like Arijit, sleeping, clean, and peaceful in a hospital bed. I don’t believe he was aware or felt any pain at the end, for which I’m grateful, but there is a bitter taste in our mouths, because it all boiled down not to human life or even quality of end of life, but money, money, money. Shame on the employer, the hospital that only cared about getting paid (we felt some of the treatment given was a waste of time and they knew it but it was for a paycheck to the hospital – until he didn’t have insurance, and shame on you insurance industry).

  3. Mat C. / Mar 28 2013 8:42 PM

    I learned of Arjit while I was in my last few rounds of chemo. I feel fortunate that my colon cancer was caught while it was still in stage 3B. I so empathized with him. His joy for life and positive attitude had a profound impact on me. My thoughts go out to his family and especially those close to him. Though I never had the opportunity to meet him personally, my life, as I’m sure that of many others, will forever be positively impacted by him. Heather, be strong and know that you have friends that wish you all the best. May God bless you and give you strength and comfort. Mat.

  4. Conor Crimmins / Mar 29 2013 7:50 AM

    I will miss my dear friend, Ari. I cannot imagine the pain that you feel, Heather, and I am so deeply sorry for your personal loss. I will miss ‘Guha’, and our conversations about everything from life, to healthcare, to the cost of college education. Ari always, always had such a bright and optimistic way of looking at the world, and that outlook was intoxicating. I will miss his spirit, his craziness, and his big ol’ smile.

  5. Sarah Burke / Apr 2 2013 6:53 AM

    We haven’t met either, but I had read about your husband. My sincere condolences for your loss. Many people are thinking of you in this difficult time.

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