Zetta’s Story II
[Background: Zetta’s Story is in Chapter 13 of my book, Going Out in Style: A Guide to Planetary Departure. In that part of her life story, Zetta talked about her journey with hepatitis C including an NDE (near-death experience) and the difficulties of returning to life after being assured by her doctors that she was dying. This second installation of her story shares the new challenges of living with Hep C—and discovering additional reasons for continuing to be on this side of the veil.]
The phone rang…
It was Zetta. We hadn’t spoken for over a year but Zetta never calls unless she feels it’s important. “Hi Marcia, I’m in the hospital in Denver. More has happened in my life that might be helpful to others. I want it shared but I’m not up to the task. Would you be willing to write about it?” Always wondering what new challenges Zetta was facing, I definitely wanted to hear her story.
Weeks later when Zetta was back home in Canon City and feeling much stronger, I drove to her home for a visit.
Zetta told me that her health had deteriorated in the fall of 2014 to such an extent that she was hospitalized with pneumonia in October at St. Thomas Moore Hospital in Canon City. Once again, she felt she was at the gate to the afterlife—and once again, she didn’t step through. Instead she was stabilized and then moved to Porter Hospital in Denver where she could be more closely supervised. This was particularly critical because of the experimental drug program she was in for Hep C. [Researchers hope that this program of meds which combines the drug, Sovaldi, with and older medication, Ribavirin (Interferon), will reverse and even remove hepatitis C from the system.]
Preparing to Go
It was all very challenging. After coming home from Porter Hospital, Zetta began to consider wrapping up her life. Once again, it seemed too hard. She contemplated the grief of her friends, planned who would care for her dogs and what end-of-life paperwork she might still need to address. Death seemed nearby igniting new fears. A close friend of Zetta’s looked as if she was pulling away—possibly leaving Zetta without a key support person. She began to wonder if all her friends would be so worn down from supporting her through so much personal care that she would die alone. A terror rose, “What if everyone leaves me!”
With that terror, she had a serendipitous, “OMG experience” as she calls it. “My friends were consulting each other about me and not always including me. I felt left out and alone. This triggered a powerful childhood memory; I found myself suddenly transported back to being 10-years-old. In the memory, I noticed my mother talking to my uncle in the kitchen and my father talking to my aunt outside. I didn’t know at the time what they were talking about; it was just strange. Then my dad came into my room in the evening and told me he wouldn’t be home anymore. My world shattered with my parent’s divorce—and I was left out, I wasn’t consulted. My dad just left.
“I could now see where all the jealousy and insecurity came from with my friends, especially when it looked like they were talking behind my back. I could see so many links to the trauma of that childhood experience that related to my adult experiences. I realized I could now let that all go. I could totally love and trust my friends for who they are—and that they are there for me and I am there for them.”
Basket of Hope
In conjunction with this period of time, Zetta received a reading from a friend who, on occasion, talks with loved ones on the other side. Zetta’s deceased father came through very clearly, and rather sternly. “He reminded me that I had made a commitment to be a part of the medical experiment that could help many people. If I would quit now, I would break my commitment. He said something that really touched me. He described my hope with this drug program as part of a large ‘basket of hope’ that includes medical professionals and other patients and families. All these people are hoping for a cure for Hep C.
If I was to pull my hope out of that basket, it would have a ripple effect on everyone else whose hope was in the same basket. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that that we are a part of a much bigger picture and how what we do affects the whole. I appreciate being reminded of this. After all, having that hope was what convinced me to take this medication.
Jump out of Yesterday
He also said that I needed to learn to live in joy. When I said I don’t know how to do that, he said it means to ‘jump out of yesterday!’ It was such a unique way of giving me his wisdom that I can’t forget it.
“I am reminded that I can stop worrying about the past or the future. When my time comes, the hearts of those who love me will be in alignment with my passing. It will be perfect timing for me to go. He assured me about my death by adding, ‘You will feel yourself leave your body, look down and then you will come on across.’ Very simple.
“He also said that I won’t have a liver transplant; that would do more harm than good. The hope in the basket is about curing Hep C. He said that I have accomplished everything else that I have wanted to do—have a house, dogs, garden, etc. How I interpret that is that I have accomplished the physical comforts I have needed and created the companionship. This gives me room and time to just be.
“I have had the belief that you have to work hard for what you get. Now I am established in my community here and I love it. Sometimes I want to go out and help friends who are sick but I double-check with myself making sure I am also doing what is best for me. It’s one more blessing I’ve gotten from this illness. The old way was I should be doing this; the new way is, no, I’m choosing this!
“Dad said I needed to shut off the ‘shoulds.’ I’m learning to live in joy—and jump out of yesterday. Releasing that childhood belief was a case in point. I’m able to trust that my friends aren’t leaving me and that we are there for each other. I don’t feel caught and defined by the past. I am in today. I am also keeping my hope in the basket and carrying through with the role I’ve chosen to play in the whole picture. Life is good…”