thumbnail of I'm Really Going to Miss Me
Hide -
<v Narrator>In the next hour, we'll explore the thoughts and feelings of four people <v Narrator>who have been told they are going to die. <v Narrator>We'll see how they react to those terrifying words and what life is really like <v Narrator>for those who don't have long to live. <v Narrator>It's hard to think about dying, to hear someone talk about it, to see it. <v Narrator>No matter how much has been written or said about death, it's a word that rattles the <v Narrator>core of our being because it's something we must ultimately face alone. <v Man>From the moment we are stricken with a terminal illness, many of us will feel a crushing <v Man>sense of isolation. <v Man>We become grim reminders that all humans are mortal.
<v Man>We may be treated as if we're ghosts spoken about as if we're not in the room, <v Man>friends may turn their backs on us, strangers may avoid us. <v Man>Yet when we are about to die, we desperately want to talk, <v Man>if only someone would listen. <v Man>Those who do listen find that everyone faces death differently. <v Man>There is no right or wrong way to do it. <v Man>It's as if dying is life's last great improvisation. <v Mother>She walked, she talked, um she fed herself at the table, <v Mother>she had manners, she was silly, and she <v Mother>loved to watch Winnie the Pooh. <v Mother>So when she couldn't function or do those things <v Mother>that she was used to doing, she became <v Mother>like desperate. <v Mother>She'd walk maybe a foot and then she'd collapsed to the ground and
<v Mother>she'd get so frustrated and try to um stand <v Mother>up that her knees would start buckling underneath her and she'd collapse to the ground <v Mother>again, and she'd get so upset that she'd start dragging herself across the <v Mother>room and. <v Mother>I didn't like to see my daughter dragging across the floor. <v Mother>I didn't like to see her hurt um. <v Mother>No, I didn't like to see her in pain. <v Narrator>The death of a child is a great tragedy. <v Narrator>But Monica Arameo faces something even worse [Indistinct conversation from Monica]. <v Narrator>It began on a day of great joy when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl <v Narrator>named Chennelle. <v Narrator>Monica's joy turned to terror when her older daughter Rochelle came to visit <v Narrator>at the hospital. One moment, two year old Rochelle was bouncing a toy
<v Narrator>on her mother's bed, the next, she was lying by her father's feet, <v Narrator>she had turned blue. <v Monica Arameo>I-I mustered up the strength to tell him that something was wrong with her face. <v Monica Arameo>And he laid her on the bed and she was having a seizure <v Monica Arameo>and she was foaming at the mouth and he <v Monica Arameo>just-he screamed, we both scream, I think, oh my God, something's <v Monica Arameo>wrong. <v Narrator>Within a month's time, Rochelle was having hundreds of small seizures a day. <v Narrator>Baffling symptoms such as slurred speech and clumsiness appeared. <v Narrator>After months of medical tests, the Arameos were told that Rochelle had something called <v Narrator>Batten's disease. <v Narrator>She would slowly degenerate and die, nothing could be done to save her. <v Monica Arameo>My heart just felt like someone just <v Monica Arameo>took a dagger and stabbed it right in the center of my heart. <v Narrator>For years, Chennelle watched her older sister suffer.
<v Narrator>Finally, the time came to say goodbye. <v Narrator>Rochelle could no longer cling to life, and Chennelle became an only <v Narrator>child. <v Monica Arameo>Doctors told me that Chennelle was normal. <v Monica Arameo>I mean, we had her tested to make sure and they told me that <v Monica Arameo>it would be like two stars colliding in the universe that I would ever have two children <v Monica Arameo>that would have the same terminal condition. <v Narrator>But the unthinkable did happen. <v Monica Arameo>She's stiff today. <v Narrator>Monica can still picture Chennelle's face when she had her first seizures. <v Monica Arameo>?Yea?, she works out every day here. <v Monica Arameo>You can see the terror in her eyes. <v Monica Arameo>And she was crying and holding, just grabbing onto me and shaking
<v Monica Arameo>and whimpering, and I called Bob over <v Monica Arameo>to me and we just stood over her. <v Monica Arameo>And I was talking very calmly to her and soothing her with my voice, <v Monica Arameo>and I just picked her up into my arms when she was done, and I held her next to <v Monica Arameo>my bosom. And then I knew, I knew that <v Monica Arameo>inside my heart that my daughter was going to die. <v Bob Arameo>And so this is gourmet food Chennelle. <v Narrator>Chennelle is following the exact blueprint of her sister's illness. <v Narrator>Rochelle died at 7, Chennelle is now 6, and will remain <v Narrator>in a children's hospital until her death. <v Bob Arameo>I think just a couple more bites, she's done, she don't want no more. <v Narrator>When Chennelle could no longer feed herself, Bob felt as helpless as his daughter. <v Monica Arameo>In just a minute, come on one more ?inaudible?. <v Bob Arameo>They can't get their hand to their mouth, and they have this frightened look. <v Bob Arameo>And the parent has that frightened look too like, what do you tell your child
<v Bob Arameo>when their eyes are like that? <v Bob Arameo>So missed. So wondering about is this-is this supposed to happen, dad <v Bob Arameo>or mom? Is this what life is about? <v Bob Arameo>We made it! Boy, a big truck <v Bob Arameo>was that, he stopped for you though, because you pushed the button. <v Bob Arameo>Let's go over here and look at the pretty trees and the pretty flowers. <v Bob Arameo>You smell them? <v Bob Arameo>They say goodbye to themselves and then they start to realize they're <v Bob Arameo>still here. And then their real character <v Bob Arameo>comes out and what they are, it really starts to become magnified. <v Bob Arameo>And every little pulse or every little squeeze of their hand, that's their <v Bob Arameo>new language. <v Bob Arameo>Right here, see? These the little ones, that is a little flower. <v Bob Arameo>You wanna hold it, you wanna hold the little flower? <v Bob Arameo>[Conversation between Bob and Chennelle becomes indistinct] And as if you're close to your child <v Bob Arameo>and spend time with them you learn that language and it's unspoken, but
<v Bob Arameo>it's-it's very, very vivid and colorful. <v Bob Arameo>And life is very special that way. <v Bob Arameo>Yeah, let's go. <v Monica Arameo>You couldn't part her finger for mine if you tried. <v Monica Arameo>She holds on to me with every ounce of strength that she has <v Monica Arameo>and she throws me kisses and. <v Monica Arameo>She coos like [Monica makes a "wooo" sound] mom, <v Monica Arameo>she calls me mom. <v Bob Arameo>Yes, good. <v Bob Arameo>Look at that yawn. <v Narrator>Any small sound that Chennelle makes has a special meeting to Monica and Bob. <v Narrator>They understand if she is afraid, angry or in pain. <v Bob Arameo>I try to teach for her ABCs, 123s, and as <v Bob Arameo>we do things, but not too much. <v Bob Arameo>And she probably knows more than she probably in her mind thinking,
<v Bob Arameo>"Dad I learned that stuff a long time ago." You know, "Dad, I wish <v Bob Arameo>you'd quit with the jokes already. I've heard that one a million times." All relaxed? <v Narrator>Bob struggles to help Chennelle do all that she can, but he knows when to stop <v Narrator>pushing. <v Monica Arameo>And on that mouse, there is a flea. <v Monica Arameo>Can it be, a ?grateful? flea? <v Bob Arameo>We wanted to do better, but we're not expecting it. <v Bob Arameo>So we're always giving them the best positive in that way, even <v Bob Arameo>though we're allowing them to go negatively, and peacefully, slowly, <v Bob Arameo>but not letting them go so fast. <v Bob Arameo>Because we love them so much. <v Monica Arameo>And then napping house where no one is sleeping now. <v Monica Arameo>Yay, all done, all done, all done.
<v Narrator>As Chennelle drifts further and further away, it might seem that she is already <v Narrator>out of reach, but Monica and Bob say they learned a tremendous lesson from <v Narrator>sister Rochelle late in her illness because Rochelle was <v Narrator>unresponsive toward the end, Monica doubted that her daughter understood anything <v Narrator>and spoke about death in adult terms in her presence. <v Monica Arameo>It was almost cold, and I didn't-I didn't do it on purpose. <v Monica Arameo>It's just that I didn't think that she understood <v Monica Arameo>me, and later I found <v Monica Arameo>that she did. <v Monica Arameo>I-I knew that she understood when she died, <v Monica Arameo>because um a week before she died, <v Monica Arameo>she called out for her daddy and <v Monica Arameo>she called out for me, and
<v Monica Arameo>she held her hands real tight and she cried. <v Monica Arameo>[Doglike noises], a doggy Chennelle, aww <v Monica Arameo>a doggy. <v Narrator>Chennelle has been told about her death in simple childlike terms. <v Monica Arameo>Things like when-when she goes to sleep, <v Monica Arameo>she'll feel a lot better that all the pain will be gone away. <v Monica Arameo>Give 'em a big squeeze. And that we should be able to run <v Monica Arameo>and play ?inaudible?, and they'll go flying the <v Monica Arameo>kites and they can sing and they can play <v Monica Arameo>with the doggies in case we tell her things like that. <v Monica Arameo>It may not be true, but I expressed to her that, <v Monica Arameo>that she was very sick, just like Sissy, and that um <v Monica Arameo>Mommy would always be there and always love you, and <v Monica Arameo>that Daddy would always be there too.
<v Monica Arameo>No matter what, we'd always be there, no matter what. <v Narrator>Although Monica and Bob are always there for Chennelle, they tried to support each <v Narrator>other throughout the ordeal of their daughter's death. <v Narrator>They are no longer married. <v Narrator>I never thought I'd be without my children and someday my children's children, says <v Narrator>Monica, and now it's going to be just me, just <v Narrator>me. <v Monica Arameo>I'm the lucky dog, that's what I used to tell Chennelle. <v Monica Arameo>I'm a lucky dog, I'm a lucky dog, she thought I was nuts. <v Monica Arameo>[Laughter] <v Monica Arameo>I did crazy things, I did crazy <v Monica Arameo>things to make her laugh, I did. <v Narrator>In the house where her daughters played and laughed. <v Narrator>Now there are only memories. <v Monica Arameo>Those are Rochelle's horses.
<v Monica Arameo>See all the colors? <v Monica Arameo>She loved color. <v Narrator>Each piece of art once carried proudly home is a season remembered. <v Monica Arameo>Halloween picture. <v Narrator>On a shelf sitting near well-loved toys is a blue urn which holds <v Narrator>Rochelle's ashes. <v Monica Arameo>Well, I have rashes because I felt that it was so <v Monica Arameo>cold to just go and spread her ashes over the ocean ?out? <v Monica Arameo>near over the mountain tops when it wasn't over yet. <v Monica Arameo>And when it's over in my mind is when Chennelle's gone <v Monica Arameo>and when she's gone, I'll probably open up the urn and have them clear Atchison <v Monica Arameo>in it with her sister so that I kept my promise and they were together, <v Monica Arameo>so that they'd be together forever. <v Monica Arameo>Here it comes Chennelle, ?come and see? <v Monica Arameo>?inaudible? ?Come and see.
<v Narrator>The end is not too far away for Chennelle. <v Narrator>She needs her parents' strength to help her now more than ever as they move <v Narrator>as one toward her death. <v Monica Arameo> Even though she has her um moments <v Monica Arameo>of weakness, she-she knows I'm there yet she knows <v Monica Arameo>her dad is there because she can't see anymore, <v Monica Arameo>but she feels our presence. <v Monica Arameo>She feels the warmth of our body next to her. <v Monica Arameo>[Monica singing to Chennelle] She-she <v Monica Arameo>loves us in a special way. <v Monica Arameo>[Singing] I wish I could be part of that world. <v Monica Arameo>We don't express sadness because we don't want her to think <v Monica Arameo>that it's something to fear because <v Monica Arameo>it really isn't anything to fear. <v Monica Arameo>It's not a fearful thing, it's only fearful if we let it be that way.
<v Monica Arameo>[Singing continues] <v Monica Arameo>Wish I <v Monica Arameo>could be part of your world.[Singing ends] <v Jeff Swinerton>Intellectually, I know what they're telling me, that this is terminal, and there is no <v Jeff Swinerton>coming back from it, there's just nothing there. <v Jeff Swinerton>In my heart of hearts I refuse to believe that. <v Jeff Swinerton>If in fact, I'm wrong and they are right. <v Jeff Swinerton>I don't want to waste the time between now and then worrying about it. <v Jeff Swinerton>It's there, it's a fact of life. It's something like having red hair or a limp or
<v Jeff Swinerton>something. It's just something you deal with. <v Jeff Swinerton>That's what I'm good at. [Laughter] That's what I'm good at. <v Jeff Swinerton>Music? No, I don't have any. <v Narrator>Several years ago, Jeff Swinerton, 42, found he had incurable lymphatic <v Narrator>cancer. In his war with the inevitable, he lobs humor at the enemy. <v Jeff Swinerton>This is actually from the manuscripts of the late Wilhelm Ferdinand Schwarzkopf who was a <v Jeff Swinerton>large person, he had a small following. <v Jeff Swinerton>Yeah, I was class clown in high school, voted Mr. Humorous. <v Jeff Swinerton>I enjoy laughing and my mind just kind of runs on this <v Jeff Swinerton>punch line patter all the time and it just that ?dun-dun? <v Jeff Swinerton>[Indistinct conversation]. <v Narrator>Susan Winterton says she married Jeff because he could joke about anything. <v Narrator>He's still trying [Indistinct conversation]. <v Jeff Swinerton>Sickness is not funny. Up yours!
<v Jeff Swinerton>The hell you know? You sick? <v Jeff Swinerton>That's a rather broad statement. Sickness isn't funny, if sickness isn't funny then. <v Susan Swinerton>Well... <v Jeff Swinerton>It is! And if you can't laugh at it. <v Jeff Swinerton>And then I don't know. <v Jeff Swinerton>It just. And I have no argument about the breast implant thing, nor the argument with <v Jeff Swinerton>Jay Leno being funny, which sometimes he is. <v Jeff Swinerton>But since he's now got a full time job and <v Jeff Swinerton>by having people making remarks about jokes and being sick saying, well, oh, <v Jeff Swinerton>I think it's a statement and I'll write him a jok-I'll write him a letter and [Susan <v Jeff Swinerton>says, "Well, yeah"] saying that. <v Jeff Swinerton>Who's to he to know, is he sick? [Susan says "Yeah."] <v Jeff Swinerton>Sickness is funny. <v Susan Swinerton>[Susan laughs] It makes a lot of funny effects. [She chuckles] <v Jeff Swinerton>Ask people in a support group, people with cancer have toilet brush bowls next to <v Jeff Swinerton>their toilet. So when they're throwing up and they can in between-in between <v Jeff Swinerton>hurling, they can scrub. <v Jeff Swinerton>So people with cancer have the cleanest toilets in the world, but that's funny. <v Jeff Swinerton>[Indistinct question] <v Jeff Swinerton>And it's sickness and you're wrong, you pompous little ?snit?.
<v Jeff Swinerton>Yeah, those are my rats. <v Narrator>Four years ago, the Swinerton's van, which Jeff calls the Ratmobile, <v Narrator>took him on a trip to California to interview for a new job. <v Narrator>He dropped by a clinic to get some pills for a sore throat, the doctor did a biopsy <v Narrator>and his life changed forever. <v Jeff Swinerton>The dead rat in the front or the one who has been maimed here by the bus, by pulling out <v Jeff Swinerton>in front of traffic has as 89 as its number. <v Jeff Swinerton>89 being the year that wasn't the best. <v Jeff Swinerton>That was the year that I found out that uh I wasn't just me anymore. <v Jeff Swinerton>Yep, that was a fun trip to California. <v Jeff Swinerton>No, you're not going to make a lot of money, you're going to die. <v Jeff Swinerton>The van's a little like me. It's-it's got a nice, strong heart, but it-just a little <v Jeff Swinerton>cancer on the edges. So it's-other than that, it's in pretty good shape. <v Doctor>Have you noticed any change in your lymph nodes? <v Jeff Swinerton>Susan was pointing out there was one of the size of a golf ball ?on my knee?. <v Doctor>You got two little ones here, which I think actually are even <v Doctor>smaller than they were last time you know.
<v Jeff Swinerton>I think it's just gone right now versus just pain, I'm-I'm-this is a new experience <v Jeff Swinerton>for me, the pain part. <v Jeff Swinerton>[Conversation becomes indistinct] I whine sometimes about the fact that my whole life now <v Jeff Swinerton>has become a treatment or leading up to a treatment, and instead <v Jeff Swinerton>of having this done in the conventional method at the hospital, most of this stuff is <v Jeff Swinerton>self-administered. So I'm forever mixing something or sticking something in <v Jeff Swinerton>some hole in me somewhere that has to be pumped in or dropped <v Jeff Swinerton>in or drizzled in or whatever. <v Doctor>Here? <v Jeff Swinerton>Some are tender though no more than usual. <v TV>43 to 39, [Indistinct dialogue from TV]. <v Jeff Swinerton>Bad days are crap. <v Jeff Swinerton>There are some spells that go through and I'm going through one right now. <v Jeff Swinerton>That they're just kind of creaking and feeling old and bent <v Jeff Swinerton>and not very energetic and-and sore in all my joints. <v Jeff Swinerton>I really try not to spread too much of that. <v Jeff Swinerton>Yes! <v Susan Swinerton>See, there ya go. <v Jeff Swinerton>I've always associated that with um old people.
<v Jeff Swinerton>[imitates old man] Today I feel like I'm old, and bent, and twisted, <v Jeff Swinerton>and hurt. My stool was running this morning, and <v Jeff Swinerton>my legs wouldn't stay down, and [end imitation] I don't want to be old and <v Jeff Swinerton>or [imitation starts again] I feel it sometimes. <v Jeff Swinerton>[end imitation] <v Susan Swinerton>About a quarter pound of provolone. <v Narrator>Jeff sees Susan as a woman of unbounding strength, he admits he couldn't make <v Narrator>it without her. She knows how to calm his fears. <v Jeff Swinerton>Just being there, just being my pal and my wife, [Indistinct conversation] I'm lucky <v Jeff Swinerton>enough to say that my wife is also my best friend so um <v Jeff Swinerton>we'll talk about something else, we've talked about that. <v Jeff Swinerton>Or maybe just hold each other or maybe it's just getting <v Jeff Swinerton>dinner made or, you know, somebody to scratch <v Jeff Swinerton>your back for a minute or whatever. <v Jeff Swinerton>And I try to be a sounding board for her, in fact, for I think I was pushing her too-too
<v Jeff Swinerton>much, too early about, don't you feel this? <v Jeff Swinerton>Don't you feel this? Don't you feel this? <v Jeff Swinerton>Aren't you bothered by this? And she has been a rock, a total Rock <v Jeff Swinerton>of Gibraltar by me. <v Susan Swinerton>We used to dream a lot, I don't think I do that. <v Susan Swinerton>I think I purposely stopped myself, and I just pretty much look at it day to day. <v Susan Swinerton>I mean, to a point, yes, I look into the future, but I pretty much stay day to day now. <v Susan Swinerton>It's easier for me to ?inaudible? that way. <v Susan Swinerton>Bye. <v Jeff Swinerton>See ya later, ?sell much?. <v Susan Swinerton>Push off that reality, just take it one day at a time, so <v Susan Swinerton>that's OK with me. <v Narrator>Susan has adjusted to being the breadwinner, working in a fast food restaurant. <v Narrator>Jeff has adjusted to living life without deadlines. <v Narrator>This gives him more time with his 10 year old daughter, Casey. <v Narrator>When Casey first found out about the cancer, she would cry whenever Jeff
<v Narrator>left town for treatment. <v Casey Swinerton>You died right there. <v Narrator>Sometimes she would disappear into the basement to be alone with her thoughts. <v Jeff Swinerton>One time we have a electric train set down there and she was staging little funerals with <v Jeff Swinerton>those little tiny people out there. <v Jeff Swinerton>Only the funerals were not funerals. Sometimes it would be just them laying next to the <v Jeff Swinerton>tracks and everybody standing around like there'd been an accident. <v Jeff Swinerton>So she went through a little little morbid psychodramas with toys, <v Jeff Swinerton>I guess for a while. But she seems pretty well adjusted to it. <v Jeff Swinerton>We haven't tried to hide it away from her to keep it away, but because Casey is part of <v Jeff Swinerton>the family and she has every right to know and in fact, I don't want her thinking again <v Jeff Swinerton>that it was her fault or that she had anything to do with it in any way. <v Jeff Swinerton>But it's-it's a fact of life. <v Narrator>Casey is a gifted child who loves to learn. <v Narrator>Like her dad, she has a passion for baseball cards and good books.
<v Narrator>He says he wants to be remembered as someone she could rely on, someone who <v Narrator>shared her interests and returned her affection. <v Narrator>Someone above all, who was fun to be around. <v Jeff Swinerton>Think the stockbroker's all paranoid because I'm back here with the camera again. <v Jeff Swinerton>I don't wear a watch anymore, and I don't have a daytimer, and I don't have a credit card <v Jeff Swinerton>anymore. I don't have appointments to go to. <v Jeff Swinerton>Argo, who is that man down there with the camera? <v Jeff Swinerton>I use to dress like this everyday. <v Narrator>Jeff doesn't miss his old job as a furniture company executive. <v Jeff Swinerton>That is a cool looking church. <v Narrator>Now he'd rather play tourist in his own town, taking photographs of things he has looked <v Narrator>at all his life, but has never really seen. <v Narrator>Free time also leads to thinking about what has gone before, regrets <v Narrator>about not knowing his father well, and sadness about paths not taken.
<v Jeff Swinerton>I also think the other thing that I would change if I had anything to change is <v Jeff Swinerton>I wouldn't have lost a lot of the ideals I had when I was, back in the 60s. <v Jeff Swinerton>Boy, that was the idealism of youth. <v Jeff Swinerton>God, the 80s were such crap and all that yippieness that went through, I'm sorry I was <v Jeff Swinerton>part of it. I'm ashamed that I got that deep involved in my gold American Express card. <v Jeff Swinerton>Oh, give it to me, give it to me, give it to me, give it to me. <v Jeff Swinerton>Give it to me. It's not there. [Indistinct dialogue] <v Narrator>Good friends helped to pass the time. <v Narrator>Illness, says Jeff, is something like a tattoo that you wear on the inside of your shirt. <v Narrator>Some people won't like to look at it. <v Narrator>He recalls what happened when he told one friend he'd known since grade school that he <v Narrator>was going to die. <v Jeff Swinerton>I haven't been able to find him since, we had one talk in a snowstorm one day and
<v Jeff Swinerton>up at his house and he was gonna call me back and he since moved and I don't know <v Jeff Swinerton>the number and I guess it was just too big a burden. <v Jeff Swinerton>And to him, I apologize, I didn't mean to drop anything on him too heavy. <v Jeff Swinerton>But yeah, some people can deal with it, and some people just can't for any number of <v Jeff Swinerton>reasons. <v Jeff Swinerton>Casey, would you like me to say grace or would you like to? <v Casey Swinerton>Mmmhmm. <v Jeff Swinerton>Tell her thank you-. <v Narrator>Jeff knows his family and friends can only go so far on his journey with <v Narrator>him. <v Jeff Swinerton>Thank you so much for all the-. <v Narrator>He's the one who must be ready when the time comes. <v Jeff Swinerton>In your name, we pray. <v Jeff Swinerton>There are many things that I fear. <v Jeff Swinerton>Dying if I die, I die. I'm going to die sooner or later. <v Jeff Swinerton>So if I die sooner then I die sooner, I'll just have a better looking uh James <v Jeff Swinerton>Dean, I'll have a better looking corpse when I go. <v TV>Call a foul on Terry Porter coming across- <v Jeff Swinerton>How many times have you seen the-the action film where the guy takes the car at
<v Jeff Swinerton>full speed right off the end of the damn pier? Cool. <v Jeff Swinerton>What a way to go. You run your life at full speed right to the last minute, as long as <v Jeff Swinerton>you get it where it's got to go. <v Jeff Swinerton>[Indistinct annoucement on TV] <v Jeff Swinerton>When I'm gone just fold me up behind the dumpster somewhere and I'll get picked up on <v Jeff Swinerton>Tuesday with the rest of the stuff that goes out. <v Narrator>Jeff sometimes pictures the small gathering he wants after he dies. <v Narrator>He plans to wear sunglasses in his coffin and write a eulogy that will make people <v Narrator>laugh. <v Jeff Swinerton>I like to be there, too. <v Jeff Swinerton>And if anybody's coming, it's a party. <v Jeff Swinerton>It will be a while before this damn thing happens, but if you want to come no sadness, <v Jeff Swinerton>it's going to be a party. Enjoy yourself, dress casually, park on the lawn <v Jeff Swinerton>if you want to, that's alright, bring a casserole that's fine. <v Jeff Swinerton>OK, I can deal with that, but uh no tears and stuff. <v Jeff Swinerton>Enjoy yourself. <v Jeff Swinerton>Top ten positive things about terminal cancer.
<v Jeff Swinerton>Number 10, the ability to laugh at surgeon general's warning. <v Jeff Swinerton>Number 9, save big bucks at the dentist by insisting on temporary fillings and caps. <v Jeff Swinerton>8, your bill collector threats no longer taken seriously. <v Narrator>Despite the odds, Jeff keeps opening his eyes to find another day. <v Narrator>He says it's like winning at the table where you're gambling with free money. <v Narrator>Every sunrise is on the house. <v Jeff Swinerton>Number 2, painkillers, painkillers, painkillers, and the number 1 <v Jeff Swinerton>most positive thing about having terminal cancer, you don't have to waste a lot of time <v Jeff Swinerton>on long term goals. <v Man>It's very, very debilitating. <v Man>You can't-you have absolute no energy. <v Man>You can't breathe very well, you'll have to be on oxygen and takes <v Man>weeks and weeks to recover.
<v Man>So I said it in the student nurse at one point in time and um <v Man>she wanted me to breathe deeply. <v Man>You know, hold the stethoscope in my back or whatever. <v Man>And I gave her a couple of breaths and she wanted more. <v Man>And I'm like, lady, I can't-I can barely breath let alone give you a deep breath. <v Man>You know, half a dozen deep breaths. <v Man>And then she-when she was finished, she came around in front of me and she was tearing, <v Man>her eyes, and she said, you're my first patient with AIDS <v Man>and I want you to know what a privilege I think it is. <v Man>And I-totally out of character for me, I said to her, well, it's not a fucking privilege <v Man>to have the disease. <v Narrator>For nearly nine years, Holstar knew that the terrible moment would come <v Narrator>when his HIV infection would turn into full blown AIDS. <v Narrator>When he had no symptoms it was easier to shove reality aside,
<v Narrator>but suddenly his emotions no longer had a safe haven. <v Narrator>He was lying in the hospital with his first symptom, pneumonia. <v Paul Holstar>One of the things I did in the hospital was I went back over my life. <v Paul Holstar>And I felt so defeated, and it made me feel <v Paul Holstar>that-that everything had been a defeat. <v Paul Holstar>All these things that I had committed myself to wholeheartedly, <v Paul Holstar>that seems to have fallen apart and failed, and this was just another one. <v Paul Holstar>So I was really, really kind of doubting myself, my life had been a waste of time. <v Narrator>The closer that Holstar comes to death, the more his life turns in <v Narrator>his mind like a familiar touchstone. <v Narrator>He says he needs to reaffirm its value, its finer moments, its lessons, <v Narrator>even its pain, trying to come to terms with where he has been.
<v Narrator>Paul is looking for the strength to face his brief future, which will end <v Narrator>in a hideous death. <v Paul Holstar>I want to be here, but I don't want the pain. <v Paul Holstar>So yea, I'm afraid of that. I'm also afraid of-I look in the mirror sometimes, and <v Paul Holstar>I've lost about 20 pounds, and I look in the mirror sometimes, and I can see <v Paul Holstar>that sort of concentration camp <v Paul Holstar>skull that so many people with AIDS get <v Paul Holstar>when they've lost every ounce of body fat, and <v Paul Holstar>I can see that in myself. And it really is-it very much scares <v Paul Holstar>me. It scares me that I'll <v Paul Holstar>lose my mind, ya know was lost in my last days, unable <v Paul Holstar>to communicate when I'm conscious. <v Paul Holstar>Ok, so I start with ?sailing?. <v Paul Holstar>All the movies you get, all the TV movies of the person <v Paul Holstar>who overcomes their disability, the person who doesn't feel sorry for themselves,
<v Paul Holstar>who is strong and makes it through. <v Paul Holstar>I realize I used to like-like those because it was like different from the image of, <v Paul Holstar>"oh, you poor handicapped person." But now it-being someone who is disabled, <v Paul Holstar>if you allow-all that feels like pressure to be one of those people, <v Paul Holstar>you know, to-to be courageous, and-and of good humor, <v Paul Holstar>you know, as so much of the time I feel <v Paul Holstar>depressed and cranky. <v Paul Holstar>I don't want to pretend this is an ok experience. <v Paul Holstar>It's not. <v Paul Holstar>I would give anything to turn this around. <v Paul Holstar>And so I-so. <v Paul Holstar>But I still have that in me now that I want to be, I want <v Paul Holstar>all my friends to say Paul died so well, [Paul chuckles] he know, he did it so well.
<v Narrator>Paul says he is driven to die a perfect death because as a child, <v Narrator>he was constantly watched, expected to behave, he was the <v Narrator>son of a minister. <v Paul Holstar>And when a minister goes to interview at a new church, what usually happens is he or she <v Paul Holstar>goes and gives a sample sermon. <v Paul Holstar>And if they like that, then they bring the family, and so we were always on sort of on <v Paul Holstar>display as perfect little kids. <v Paul's Sister>We always loved it, he was always great to us and ?inaudible?. <v Narrator>Paul remembers the closeness and likes to spend time with his sister when she comes <v Narrator>once a week to help out. They laugh over childhood memories. <v Paul's Sister>You tell me you remember Teddy? <v Paul Holstar>Yeah, I do. <v Paul's Sister>Do ya? <v Paul Holstar>Yeah, I remember him because father took him away from me. <v Paul's Sister>Because? <v Paul Holstar>Because I was too old to have a teddy bear anymore. <v Paul's Sister>I see. <v Paul's Sister>Mr. Sweetness in ?life? huh? <v Paul Holstar>We dumped a few years here. <v Paul's Sister>I guess we did. [Conversation becomes indistinct] <v Narrator>But Paul also remembers an uncomfortable, nagging feeling that he was different <v Narrator>from his brothers. At Brandeis University, the shy minister's son
<v Narrator>became not only a civil rights advocate, and anti-war demonstrator, <v Narrator>but after much soul searching, a gay activist. <v Narrator>He was astonished to discover that his father was also gay, but had kept the <v Narrator>fact a secret from his family. <v Paul Holstar>I actually was furious at the time um <v Paul Holstar>because it had been extremely difficult for me to get to that point, and I didn't <v Paul Holstar>understand why both my parents knew for years <v Paul Holstar>that this was the way I was, why they had done nothing and said nothing. <v Narrator>Paul now is anxious to forgive, if not forget, he <v Narrator>sits and relives his 42 years, a twilight stringing <v Narrator>together of images, voices and emotions he is compelled to examine once <v Narrator>again. He remembers his hard work publishing the first gay <v Narrator>and lesbian newspaper in the country and the pain of being branded by <v Narrator>his friends in Boston as an impractical idealist.
<v Narrator>He recalls quiet years spent in India meditating at the foot of a guru. <v Paul Holstar>It was a very special time for me and I <v Paul Holstar>felt that the meditation worked, that the meditation <v Paul Holstar>brought me to a place inside myself where <v Paul Holstar>I was at peace. <v Man>Why don't you let your toes be free? <v Narrator>At last, Paul settled in Oregon, determined with his degree in social <v Narrator>work to help troubled people. <v Narrator>He found Portland to his liking and he found Fred. <v Fred>We got to get ours into the cars and ?inaudible? <v Fred>I had to plug those two play ?inaudible? <v Fred>because I lived over at Sarah's in ?inaudible?. <v Narrator>When Paul tested HIV positive in 1985, his <v Narrator>world came crashing down around him. <v Narrator>He no longer wanted the sexually open relationship that he and Fred had shared for years. <v Narrator>He wanted commitment. <v Paul Holstar>I gave up the fantasy of some new knight
<v Paul Holstar>in shining armor coming my way or whatever. <v Paul Holstar>And I realized that I didn't know how much time I had and that I wanted to <v Paul Holstar>spend it with Fred. <v Fred>I actually watched [Conversation becomes indistinct] <v Narrator>While Fred hesitated to make a commitment, Paul helped to create an AIDS center <v Narrator>where he counseled the dying, some of whom he'd known as friends. <v Paul Holstar>And so I constantly had to steel myself to sit there and <v Paul Holstar>talk to this person with my mind being blown all <v Paul Holstar>at the same time, because I couldn't believe that <v Paul Holstar>this attractive, you know, um what <v Paul Holstar>a lively man was suddenly this wasted figure <v Paul Holstar>in front of myself. <v Paul Holstar>It was very, very hard.
<v Narrator>As close as he was to the dying, Paul says he had no idea what it's <v Narrator>really like. <v Paul Holstar>On some level that we don't-none of us really want to know. <v Paul Holstar>We only know life experience, not devastating deaths. <v Paul Holstar>We wait until we have to experience it, and I was the same. <v Paul Holstar>You know, I could work at it for years, I have counsel people <v Paul Holstar>that I can talk about it and I could understand it. <v Paul Holstar>But being on this side of it is completely different. <v Narrator>How could he have known what it's really like to endure nausea from chemotherapy <v Narrator>or to wake up in the middle of the night sick, sweating, and fighting to breathe? <v Paul Holstar>I feel like I don't have a clue really what's happening to me, <v Paul Holstar>and I certainly don't have any control. <v Paul Holstar>And both of those things feel like like you're in a very speedy-fast <v Paul Holstar>speeding car and there's no one at the wheel. <v Paul Holstar>You know, you're just like zooming somewhere, and you know it's going to crash,
<v Paul Holstar>but you don't know when and um <v Paul Holstar>it's very, very scary. <v Paul Holstar>I don't know how to deal with that, the ?fear? either. <v Paul Holstar>I had lost it. [Conversation becomes indistinct] <v Narrator>A few months ago, Paul started to have spells where his whole body shook <v Narrator>and his mind became foggy. <v Paul Holstar>I didn't know that they were panic attacks, I had no idea what was happening. <v Paul Holstar>And Fred finally figured out that if he came when that was happening, if he came and held <v Paul Holstar>me, that it would go away. <v Paul Holstar>I thought it was something physical to do with with HIV disease <v Paul Holstar>that was happening. <v Paul Holstar>And really what it was, it was just being overtaken by fear. <v Paul Holstar>[Indistinct question] <v Narrator>Fear that led to thoughts of taking his own life. <v Paul Holstar>Sometimes I thought of. <v Paul Holstar>Why go through this you know? <v Paul Holstar>There are cultures that
<v Paul Holstar>where people can choose to die, they can choose not <v Paul Holstar>to go through the worst part of this, um <v Paul Holstar>and I think about that sometimes. <v Paul Holstar>And Fred, says-says to me about that, he says you know <v Paul Holstar>he really feels like there's, um <v Paul Holstar>that it's sort of cheating and that <v Paul Holstar>there's so much for us to learn. <v Paul Holstar>By not short circuiting the process, by being there all the <v Paul Holstar>way through together, and I understand that. <v Narrator>Fred became very angry with Paul when he constantly apologized for depending <v Narrator>on him.
<v Paul Holstar>He put on some music and the first song on the C.D., <v Paul Holstar>had the words, I can't even say it. <v Paul Holstar>It's incredible. <v Paul Holstar>One voice that said, how long <v Paul Holstar>will it be until you realize that we're in this together? <v Paul Holstar>[Audio clip plays] <v Paul Holstar>And I realized that, I was <v Paul Holstar>holding him back and that I would say to him at some level, <v Paul Holstar>you can't go through this with me. <v Fred>[Indistinct conversation] <v Paul Holstar>You need to let people give you
<v Paul Holstar>what they had to give you and accept it with grace. <v Narrator>There is one thing that Paul is finding almost impossible to accept, <v Narrator>and that is the thought of what will happen to Fred, who is also HIV <v Narrator>positive. <v Paul Holstar>I know a lot of people and so many of them have come forward <v Paul Holstar>to help um, <v Paul Holstar>and I can't stop worrying about it. <v Paul Holstar>That will be Fred's experience you know. <v Paul Holstar>I know it really panics him and it panics me <v Paul Holstar>to think that he'll have to go through this without-without me. <v Narrator>Paul also agonized over whether to die in Oregon or take Fred <v Narrator>with him to die among family in the east. <v Paul Holstar>And then I started thinking about actually dying. <v Paul Holstar>You know, actually, the physical state of
<v Paul Holstar>laying in a bed, you know, and-and leaving, and <v Paul Holstar>I could not imagine doing it without my family around. <v Paul Holstar>Because despite all this sort of separation <v Paul Holstar>over the years, that bond is still <v Paul Holstar>so powerful, so it feels like a full circle you know, feels <v Paul Holstar>like that's where you start, that's where you end and to know that, <v Paul Holstar>that I do have all their love and their support. <v Paul Holstar>Well, it's been important for me too, and there were times in my <v Paul Holstar>life when I didn't feel that. <v Narrator>There is one final task that Paul has set for himself before he goes. <v Paul Holstar>Here's my last chance to figure out how to be at one with <v Paul Holstar>my whole being, you know how-how to really feel that
<v Paul Holstar>I have some sort of-of wholeness <v Paul Holstar>that goes beyond this body in terms of I don't know how much time I've got to <v Paul Holstar>figure it all out. <v Paul Holstar>It's very important for me figure it out, because all the way back to again, being the <v Paul Holstar>son of a minister and feeling like there's a core there in me <v Paul Holstar>that needs to be heard and needs to flower <v Paul Holstar>even at this point in time, and I can't find <v Paul Holstar>it. <v Paul Holstar>Well, I really do believe that something else happens after we die. <v Paul Holstar>I haven't got a clue what that is, you know, but I can't believe <v Paul Holstar>that it's the end. <v Paul Holstar>That's part of what makes me very angry about all this, <v Paul Holstar>is that I love being here on the planet. <v Paul Holstar>You know, I love just watching all of us do our <v Paul Holstar>thing here. And I don't want to turn off the TV,
<v Paul Holstar>you know, I don't want to stop seeing it. <v Bobbie Martin>I used to have a nice figure, I used to be pretty, had <v Bobbie Martin>curly hair, had beautiful fingernails. <v Bobbie Martin>I wasn't vain, but I took some pride in my looks, I <v Bobbie Martin>lost my figure from the transplant. <v Bobbie Martin>I lost 7 fingernails, which-which is average people whose fingernails and transplants. <v Bobbie Martin>For the first time in my life, I don't have curly hair, at least I have some hair. <v Bobbie Martin>And it's not important, the fact that I'm alive <v Bobbie Martin>is important. <v Bobbie Martin>I still dresses as well as I can. <v Bobbie Martin>Well, I wear lipstick and I have-I'm noted for my earrings, and <v Bobbie Martin>I have about 200 pairs of earrings and I have a lot of rings,
<v Bobbie Martin>and so I like-I-I try to look as best as I can, but I could <v Bobbie Martin>show you pictures of, say, 10 years ago where you could <v Bobbie Martin>call me pretty, and I'm not, and it's ok. <v Bobbie Martin>10 years ago, I had no personality, had no identity um I <v Bobbie Martin>had no feelings. I just-I really wasn't Bobbie. <v Narrator>10 years ago, Bobbie Martin had a healthy body, but despite her <v Narrator>smile, her mind was in torment. <v Narrator>As a child, when her family moved from New York City to the quiet of Long Island, <v Narrator>she felt a strange curtain draw across her emotions. <v Narrator>She had become chronically depressed. <v Bobbie Martin>I was just angry with my parents, myself, with everybody <v Bobbie Martin>else, with the world, and I found I <v Bobbie Martin>was very unhappy and I didn't know what to do. <v Bobbie Martin>I did talk to my mom from time to time, but she told me things would get better.
<v Narrator>Things did not get better. <v Narrator>Able to handle less and less pressure, she lost a good job after college <v Narrator>and became a loner, a frightening darkness spread into every corner of <v Narrator>her mind. She left her family and friends and traveled west, <v Narrator>never to return. <v Bobbie Martin>My whole life I thought other people didn't like me. <v Bobbie Martin>I didn't like myself, how could they like me? <v Bobbie Martin>I couldn't think of one outstanding characteristic I had, I never <v Bobbie Martin>felt as though anybody respected me. <v Bobbie Martin>And they didn't, they walked all over me, I might as well have had a sign that said "Kick <v Bobbie Martin>me" on my back because they did. <v Narrator>Bobbie's symptoms worsened as she put off looking for work. <v Narrator>She preferred the company of her plants, which she says asked little of her, but grew <v Narrator>and gave her comfort. <v Narrator>After her parents and brother died, Bobbie found herself alone in the world, <v Narrator>she became obsessed by the fear of death.
<v Bobbie Martin>And the 4th part of the meeting is called mutual aid, where people get <v Bobbie Martin>together, sometimes we have coffee-[Conversation goes into the background]. <v Narrator>Though she was isolated and desperate, she somehow found the courage to join <v Narrator>a mental health support group. <v Narrator>Slowly, her life turned around. <v Bobbie Martin> I felt comfortable there, nobody lied to me. <v Bobbie Martin>I was very weird when I went there, I was having psychotic episodes and nobody <v Bobbie Martin>thought I was weird. They accepted me for-for who I was. <v Bobbie Martin>I became a wonderful person. <v Bobbie Martin>I became somebody that I can look in the mirror and-and respect, <v Bobbie Martin>and people would respect me. <v Narrator>Then two years ago, what Bobbie had most feared happened. <v Narrator>It began with what appeared to be a lingering case of the flu, she told <v Narrator>her doctor she had fainted a couple of times and he ordered blood tests. <v Bobbie Martin>And I remember telling the blood technician, the phlebotomist,
<v Bobbie Martin>I hope I don't have cancer. <v Bobbie Martin>Some of these symptoms my mom described to me when she got cancer, <v Bobbie Martin>feeling so tired, and I was-I was really worried, <v Bobbie Martin>and lo and behold, I had leukemia. <v Narrator>After several courses of chemotherapy, Bobbie's doctor tried a bone marrow transplant <v Narrator>to stop the cancer. <v Bobbie Martin>And the bone marrow transplant didn't take, because he told me that <v Bobbie Martin>the cancer was too deep in the bone marrow. <v Bobbie Martin>And he also gave me two months to live, and this was quite a shock, <v Bobbie Martin>after I thought I aced this operation. <v Bobbie Martin>But I'm not a crier. I didn't cry about this, I uh <v Bobbie Martin>talked over the options. <v Narrator>After getting several opinions, Bobbie decided to stop aggressive medical treatment. <v Narrator>She says that it was hard to decide to do nothing, to take charge of what remained
<v Narrator>of her life, to resolve, to calmly wait for death to come. <v Bobbie Martin>I have no family. I'm not into religion. <v Bobbie Martin>Friends can only help so much that, either they don't know what to say <v Bobbie Martin>or they're scared. <v Bobbie Martin>It was me and I found that I had the strength <v Bobbie Martin>within me. <v Bobbie Martin>Among the many mementos that Bobbie has saved is a card from a friend which <v Bobbie Martin>has a quotation that says, "In the midst of Winter, I finally learned <v Bobbie Martin>that there was an invincible Summer." <v Bobbie Martin>I didn't know what to call this inner strength, <v Bobbie Martin>this courage. <v Bobbie Martin>I like to name things. I feel as though I have control over something when I can name <v Bobbie Martin>it, and so I call it my invincible Summer. <v Bobbie Martin>And I can't tell you why it happened and must be something that's always been <v Bobbie Martin>there, but for the first time in my life,
<v Bobbie Martin>I can't say 100 percent, but very close to it, I have no <v Bobbie Martin>fear, I have no anxiety. <v Bobbie Martin>I'm an assertive person, I'm the person I've always wanted to be. <v Bobbie Martin>It's just a shame that I have terminal cancer, but those are the breaks. <v Woman>And I thought if I ran fast enough, I wouldn't have to think about it. <v Woman>And I could-the time would go quickly and it would take care of everything, and maybe <v Woman>this was all not real, and so that way I could keep it not real. <v Narrator>In the autumn of her life, [Indistinct conversation from Bobbie] the woman who was once a <v Narrator>loner, unable to take care of herself, has become someone willing to let <v Narrator>others lean on her. At 2 cancer support group meetings a week, <v Narrator>she listens with her heart and shares both emotional and practical thoughts. <v Bobbie Martin>Blue Cross is now paying for a home keeper to come out and <v Bobbie Martin>she's doing some cleaning; I mean, I didn't clean when I was well [support group laughs]. <v Bobbie Martin>I feel comfortable with these people, we're all in the same boat.
<v Bobbie Martin>We can talk about what bothers us and how people don't understand. <v Bobbie Martin>One of the remarks I made in the group to someone who was having trouble <v Bobbie Martin>with a friend is just because we have cancer doesn't mean everybody's <v Bobbie Martin>gonna like us. I want my friends to communicate with me <v Bobbie Martin>and some of them have been honest enough to say I'm uncomfortable around you. <v Bobbie Martin>I don't know what to say, I don't know what to do. <v Bobbie Martin>And I tell them well just treat me like Bobbie. <v Narrator>There are times when Bobbie sleeps all day, times when she has severe fever <v Narrator>and chills, times when she has mild side aches, but <v Narrator>she considers herself to be lucky, she's not in pain. <v Bobbie Martin>I have fainted pretty recently. <v Bobbie Martin>I fell off the toilet and fainted. <v Bobbie Martin>[Bobbie laughs] <v Bobbie Martin>Next thing I know, there I am on the floor. <v Bobbie Martin>That was very funny and,
<v Bobbie Martin>but no, no excruciating pain. <v Bobbie Martin>[Classical music plays] <v Narrator>Bobbie spends more time now with books, classical music and what she <v Narrator>calls her own very good company. <v Narrator>She is proud that she lives alone, takes care of herself. <v Bobbie Martin>One of my very, very, very good friends was smothering me <v Bobbie Martin>and she did it out of love. <v Bobbie Martin>I'm not the person that calls somebody else or wants to be called a couple of times <v Bobbie Martin>a day. I don't like people checking in on me. <v Bobbie Martin>I had to tell her that because she told me, I don't know, <v Bobbie Martin>I just don't know, I'm trying to do the best for you, and <v Bobbie Martin>I understood that. Before I got over my depression, <v Bobbie Martin>well, I took no responsibility at all, and so this is a big <v Bobbie Martin>thing for me not only to take it, but also to enjoy taking responsibility.
<v Narrator>But despite needing her independence, Bobbie cherishes friendships. <v Bobbie Martin>I don't believe in heaven and hell, I don't believe in an afterlife. <v Bobbie Martin>I believe that when you die, you die, and um <v Bobbie Martin>you're remembered through friends. <v Narrator>To gather her friends together before her death was one of Bobbie's strongest thoughts <v Narrator>when she found she had only two months left. <v Narrator>So with the help of others, she gave herself a living wake. <v Narrator>She still likes to read messages left in a basket after the evening that meant so much <v Narrator>to her. <v Bobbie Martin>It was a very festive occasion. It looked something like a Mardi Gras. <v Bobbie Martin>Some people didn't know what a living wake was. <v Bobbie Martin>They had no idea it was to celebrate my life because I was terminal. <v Bobbie Martin>And they were very surprised to hear that they-once they got over the shock, <v Bobbie Martin>they-they did have a good time.
<v Narrator>But notes from the wake also brings sadness. <v Narrator>This one came from a support group friend who has since died. <v Bobbie Martin>You were-you are a rare and courageous individual. <v Bobbie Martin>I will always remember with ?inaudible? <v Bobbie Martin>Jerry ?inaudible?. [Bobbie cries] <v Narrator>Only days before her death, Bobbie has a premonition that her end is very near. <v Bobbie Martin>I have visions of me just-kicking <v Bobbie Martin>and fighting to keep-to keep off death, and <v Bobbie Martin>that death is going to have to drag me to get me. <v Bobbie Martin>I'm not giving in there. <v Bobbie Martin>I'm enjoying my life. It's very hard to accept that it's not going to be around much <v Bobbie Martin>anymore.
<v Bobbie Martin>And I can't always laugh through this. <v Bobbie Martin>It's gonna be some times of real seriousness and hopelessnes, <v Bobbie Martin>and that's just what I was feeling, totally hopeless because, there is no hope, <v Bobbie Martin>and that's very hard to accept, when there is no hope, and being cheated out of 25 <v Bobbie Martin>years worth of normal life. <v Narrator>Just two weeks later, Bobbie's premonition that death was near has come true, <v Narrator>although she can't stop the end from coming. <v Narrator>She keeps her will to live, whether for one more hour or one more <v Narrator>breath. <v Bobbie Martin>I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die. <v Bobbie Martin>[Person standing beside her says, "I know sweetheart"]
I'm Really Going to Miss Me
Producing Organization
KOPB (Television station : Portland, Or.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland, Oregon)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-153-06sxkvzn).
Program Description
"'I'm Really Going to Miss Me' is a documentary about what life is like when you are going to die. We listen to the thoughts and witness the emotions of four interesting characters. Each has a unique way of approaching death and a personal environment worth exploring. We watch them living over a period of days in a world viewed from a strangely new perspective. "Death is one of the great mysteries of human existence. It is something we all inevitably face. It is hard to think about death and difficult to listen to someone talk about it. But at the same time, we feel a need to satisfy a nagging curiosity about what it is like to know that death is near. Most of us have absolutely no idea how to relate to a dying person. "There has never been anything produced with just the clear personal voice of the patient. By taking a deep look into the process of dying, reflecting on the [subjects'] thoughts and feelings, and avoiding clinical analysis, the viewer has a chance to get to know they dying people well and share what they face. "The producer befriended people and won their trust at a very delicate time. The results prove to be rewarding to everyone."-- 1992 Peabody Awards entry form.
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: KOPB (Television station : Portland, Or.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-507d716f126 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:57:44
Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)
Identifier: cpb-aacip-af6a9791f06 (Filename)
Format: Betacam: SP
Generation: Original
Duration: 00:57:56
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “I'm Really Going to Miss Me,” 1992-09-29, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “I'm Really Going to Miss Me.” 1992-09-29. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: I'm Really Going to Miss Me. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from