Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mirror Synchronicity: The travel metaphor

Recently I had the privilege of sitting bedside with a friend "Gary" during the last week of his life. He had cancer and the disease had progressed enough to require care in an inpatient hospice unit. He slept often and his dreams were very active. He would talk and make hand gestures while he was sleeping. Hospice professionals refer to his condition as 'terminal restlessness'. I had always heard that people at the end of life start to experience and express the situation as a travel metaphor and Gary was no exception. One time when he was sleeping he said 4 times, "Get up, get up, get up, get up." His hand gesture was so broad he woke himself up. He smiled and told me he was trying to get his motorcycle on the back of a truck. Another time he said he had a dream about a 102 foot boat. Yet another time he lifted his hand up and turned his wrist. That gesture, too, woke him up. He told me he was trying to start a car. I asked him him about the boat, motorcycle and car transportation metaphors and said, "are you going somewhere?" and he said, "you think?" and grinned. What would turn out to be the day before he died, he wanted to stay in his street clothes and refused to take off his shoes. He would ask, "when are we leaving?" He was so restless that he and I actually took a walk around the facility, wandering aimlessly. During that walk he told me about a scene from the movie Mission to Mars. He said, "I feel like Gary Sinese - about to get in the capsule."

No comments: