I took a late plane home last night from Marquette so I could catch my breath, take a really long hot shower and sleep in my own bed with Rich and the cats. Since I had left straight from Florida I was ill-equipped for the Upper Peninsula in all respects. But that begs the question of how many of us are really well equipped to handle this end of life process with the ones we love.
There’s been little change and mostly in the wrong direction. When I left my mother was still in a coma and completely ventilator dependent. The prognosis from the doctors is a few more days of that at the outside. Those few days seem especially valuable to me in only this sense: they are allowing Bud time to make the most gradual shifts in his heart and his mind to a new reality. Watching that has been the most painful thing I have ever witnessed and perhaps someday I will find words to describe the minute changes in his expression, in his eyes, in his posture as he stands holding the handrail of her bed.
I had legitimate reasons to duck home for a couple days. I’ll be making a massive effort to get on top of work and life here after two weeks away because I know that we will regroup shortly and I need to rein in a child from Florida and Dan from here and we need to think about logistics and travel arrangements and everything else. My sisters and brother and I need to parcel out the tasks at hand and available time- because this is going to take some time.Legitimate reasons aside, it’s just so hard to bear. I am a coward. I felt helpless and useless and lost. I found myself praying that she would be in a heavenly field of lupines and plump red thimbleberries with vistas of Lake Superior and bald eagles riding the thermal winds rather than praying that she would work harder in a losing battle against the rales of her ravaged lungs. We "talked" and I held her hand and I told her I would see her again. I left her with the love of my sisters and Bud and I left her to the kind and compassionate touch of the nurses who attend to her every moment.
It feels as though I have good friends in this "blog" neighborhood and even beyond that, good people who are not friends but can still take the time to pass on wishes and comfort. You have no idea what your support and comfort and prayers mean to me and to my family. How held I feel when friends post about my situation and send even more comfort. I shared them with Bud yesterday and he said, "All those people I don’t even know praying for mama." Yesterday’s Budism on the dry-erase board was this:
Dr. Reese: Would Bud like someone to come in and pray with him?
Bud: Why would I want someone to come in and play with me? (and then he gave his little smile and tugged on his hearing aid.)
Also: "Bud, before I leave make sure you sign those HIPAA papers so they can talk to me when I call." So Bud said to Terrry, the nurse, I need to sign those papers so you can talk to my daughter when she calls. And Terry said to Bud and me: Why Bud, yesterday I handed you those papers and you said, "Are those those damn invasion of privacy things? That idiot is ruining the country!" And you threw them on the floor. Then Bud smiled and said, "Oh. Well. You can talk to my daughter. I’m just not signing that stuff."
Anyway, I’ll come around when I can to say hello but right now I feel as though I need to tuck in and sign off for awhile. Thank you all again, so very much for your thoughts and the knowledge that you’ll be there when I come looking.