January 22, 2014

Way to go

New York woman dies at peace after month-long farewell party and 'one last blowout' New Year's Eve bash

In late November, Marcy Glanz was hit with some awful news: after battling with ovarian cancer for nearly three years, her doctors told her she had but a few weeks to live.  With just a few, short weeks left on earth, Ms. Glanz didn't succumb to self-pity or fear - rather, she used her remaining days to essentially have a month-long farewell party, during which she could say her goodbyes to the scores of friends she made in her 62 years on earth.

'Many of us die too soon and have no chance to say goodbye, or we have a long, ugly painful demise,' her husband, Marion Stewart, said. 'Hers was neither of those.'
Glanz's final days are recounted in a lengthy piece in The New York Times, which describes her desires for her final weeks as wanting 'a monthlong farewell party that mixed frivolity and friendship, laughter and tears.' Ms. Glanz got her wish.
Rather than spend her final weeks in a hospital or hospice, Ms. Glanz was able to remain in her home on West 90th Street in Manhattan, where a medical staff was brought in to give her the care she needed as she prepared to lay down her arms in her long battle against cancer.

Ms. Glanz - who had a master's degree in educational psychology from Harvard - spent much of December sharing memories with her family in the forms of old pictures and home movies.  Mr. Stewart notes that while there was some crying as he, his wife and their two sons remembered happier times, 'but there was a lot more laughing than crying.'

'We did many of the things that people do after death, but we did it before she died,' he says.

Ms. Glanz even helped plan her own memorial service, giving her husband specific instructions on everything down to the music and speakers.  'There was no "Woe is me" or "I can’t stand this,’” he said. 'There was just a peacefulness and wanting to wrap everything up.'

One of Ms. Glanz's biggest regrets was that her unfortunate death would mean she would never meet her grandchildren. So, in preparation, her sons brought her a copy of Goodnight Moon - the same book she used to read to them before they went to sleep - and she recorded herself reading it so her future grandchildren could hear her voice and be 'tucked in by the grandmother they never met.'

On New Year's Eve, Ms. Glanz decided that she wanted to have 'one last blowout party' at the apartment she shared with her husband.  She invited 20 people and made toasts with ginger ale as she worked the room wearing a pink, fuzzy boa.

The next day - New Year's Day - was the last day Ms. Glanz could speak. She died on January 5 - in her bed and surrounded by her family.  'She had the ability and wherewithal to say everything she wanted to say,' Ms. Paura said. 'It was as if, by facing her death through the prism of love,  she transcended it.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at January 22, 2014 11:37 PM | Permalink