everythingyoualwayswantedtosaybutwereafraid

Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the category “death”

A long time coming

As you can tell, I’ve been a long time away.  The Man left me on this earth alone almost two years ago.  He lived to his 90th birthday on November 6, 2014 and he was gone by December 1st.  It will take me awhile to tell all the stories we shared leading to that fateful day.

I’m still mourning, often without people understanding, myself not understanding what exactly is happening to me.

I am alone.

 

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Being unsure is the worst thing

Well, to the hospital we went after another fall; have finished there and now at a rehab center.  Physical therapist are a tough breed, but they swear they can help him so we are working at it.  The one thing that a rehab center does not want is the spouse hanging around all the time, and he does do better at the therapy when I am not there.  He knows I’m a sucker for his pain.  They don’t even have a chair in the room, but of course that doesn’t prevent our rowdy crew of 10 from descending all at once.  Where the Man goes, we go.

I cried crocodile tears to leave him at night the first time.  I’ve never slept in our bed alone.  I know they are all sick of us/me already, but I don’t care.  It’s our life, and we are sworn to live it in the way we wish.  They are hopeful that he will get strong enough to come home and get around.  They have given me hope, where I had none.

It’s a strange feeling when you feel alone, but you are not.  You don’t want to talk to others because you only want to talk about Him, yet when you talk about Him it is so emotional.  Then, they worry about you which you don’t want.  You have lost your closest confident because He is sick and you don’t want to worry him any more than he is already.  Sometimes, I can’t help but cry like when he told me that I could just crawl up in his bed at the hospital and stay there and when I told him that I didn’t think we would both fit he said there was always room in his bed for me and always had been.

I fear his mind is slipping.

This is where the cowboy rides away

Let me tell all you young people out there.  Dying isn’t an easy job.  The body fights for all it’s worth, and old bodies have been bombarded with all kinds of hardships over many years of rough terrain in life.  And although the body fights, the pain is palpable.  If you are the one in the dying you suffer, you hurt, you try and try and try to get back to where you were, but cannot because the wear and tear is just too great.  Still, you continue on – some with quiet solitude, some with great anguish and noise, some with bewilderment and some just do.  The dying is hard enough, but the ability to muster the dignity is greater than soldiers on the battlefield.  To suffer in silence; to put on the face of endurance for everyone that comes by.  Never show your weakness; never let em see you sweat.  I am learning how families of wounded warriors must feel when their wounded soldier works tirelessly, steadfastly, and resolutely to repair the debasement of their bodies.

Once more, I am checking off another point on my list of things that I wanted in a man who I wrote oh so many years ago.  My list included silly, girlish things like tall, but it also included the oh so important things that make a man like determined, hardworking,  and staunch.  Over 30 years, this last requirement has manifested itself more and more in The Man.  Such dignity.  This is where the Cowboy rides away.

Tough Guys – click for music

I don’t want to share the details

It’s my last post about The Man.  He is deteriorating, and I am loosing strength.  Everyone keeps saying why don’t you call me, let others help, but really what can they do?  Can they take care of his toileting needs?  Can they fix the foods that he likes?  Can they help him dress, change his soiled sheets, help him shave?  Can they talk to him to remind him of intimate moments to try to bring his mind back to the present?  Can they remind him of his role as a father, husband, lover, provider?  Can they infuse me with strength and rest?  It’s all mine at this point.  I intend to see it through.  I have never shirked a task, and this is one rough task.  Pray for his peace.

Hey Lucky Dog

Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine had some mini wiener dogs for sale.  At the time, my grandmother had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and research was showing that having a pet would lower blood pressure.  I bought the dog; he was five weeks old and just nothing is cuter than a mini dachshund puppy.  The man and I drove to the city to my mom’s house where she and my grandmother (the Golden Girls) lived.  He was wrapped in a towel not more than 3 pounds when I handed him to my Mama Lou, but I should have known things would not go exactly as I thought.  I told her it was her Christmas present, and I never told her that I paid anything for him.  She was too tight for that.  Now Mama Lou loved Lucky, but the real dog lover in the family is my mom, and before long Lucky was sleeping with her at night because Mama Lou was just too fanatically clean to have a dog in her bed.  But not Mom.  Every night he would bury himself either under her covers down to her feet or under a pillow near her head.  He was so cold natured.  It was winter, and we thought it would be good to put a sweater on him when he went outside to keep him from shivering in the cold.  We squeezed him in to a too small sock.  He looked like a stuffed wiener, and by the time we got the dang thing off of him that idea was thrown out the window.

Lucky lived a long and enviable life with two grannies, but last week he died in my mom’s arms.

We will miss you Lucky.  You will not be able to be replaced (you ole philanderer).

It’s such a prick

 

After several days in the hospital, the Man’s 40 plus weight loss issues were finally discovered with a scope that gave the most gruesome pictures of a large ulcer on the top of his stomach.  The thing was huge.  The doctor said it was the largest he had ever seen, but he probably says that to everyone just so they can brag.  The blood loss has stopped, and I was encouraged by his clarity of mind after he began to hold food down again.  I decided the unnerving loss of his mental capacity slowly day by day had been due to the massive blood loss and so it seemed.  But alas, after a couple of days of an almost back to normal existence, I walked in and asked him about breakfast and could tell when he looked at me I knew it wasn’t the blood loss.  When he asked me if it was bedtime at 7:00 am I was devastated,  beaten, scared, and resigned to our fate once again.  What a prick tease to let us have that week of normality (however weak he might be), then jerk the chair out from under us.  To be grateful for the time-any time- is becoming such a gift, like a newborn baby to be nurtured and loved and cherished.  We are in this together, just like he told me the first time I met him.

Ah, my love

I have a hard time deciding to write about the Man.  From a strapping six-foot plus man of a man, he has come to be very dependent on me.  He is very ill.  He is 87, and I believe he has gone to looking to the end.  He has not embraced it yet, but that will come.  Right now, we are in a game of him loosing his mind.  I hate to say this out loud, but it really is a funny stage if you can let go and let God and laugh about it.  Some examples:

“The Rifleman lives in our small town and has four kids.  Two boys and two girls – What is that boy’s name?” he says.   I answer, “The only one I know is Mark.”  He comes back with, “I know that one.  What is the other one’s name?”

“I saw a mouse in the bathroom last night.  Do we have a mousetrap?”  I answer, “No, but I will get one when I go to the store this week.”  Later in the day he tells me, “Right there is the shaving cream to catch that mouse with.”

He decides to lay down in the afternoon.  This takes several minutes to manuever.  We get him to the bed, and I’m hoping to get a rest as well.  I have some green beans on the stove.  I ask him if he would like some dinner in a couple of hours when he gets up.  He says he doesn’t want any dinner; his stomach is bothering him.  I lay down next to him.  he jumps up and says, “What’s for dinner?”  I’m shocked, but I am glad he’s wanting food so I say, “Are you hungry?”  He tells me yes, of course, isn’t it time to eat?  I hurry to the kitchen and throw a really good supper together – green beans, okra, avocado, watermelon, and cornbread. He eats every bite.  I guess it was time.

After supper he decides to go to bed.  I get all his bedtime medicine, and after several very slow trips to the bathroom to brush teeth, shave, etc. he lies down in bed.  Before I can walk around to the other side, he jumps up and says he has indigestion and is going to sleep in his chair – which he does.  He sleeps really well for a while.

One afternoon, he is asleep in his chair, and I am napping on the bed.  I am startled awake by loud static sounds coming from the living room.  I run in, and he has unplugged the TV and several other things as well as thrown several things into the middle of the floor.  When I ask, he replies, “I can’t find the remote.” This one made me laugh and later cry.

These are just a few examples that we have laughed about.  He remembers doing them; he just doesn’t know why he does them.  He still tells me he loves me, and I get hugs at times.  He likes to talk about the grandkids.

Today, he said, “I am just trying to make it to see **** (our first-born). ”  He is coming the first of August.

I hope he makes it too;  sometimes I don’t.

Death upon us

My mind is just wandering all over the place along with Rods.  We live so close together in this world that I cannot separate myself from him even as he closes this part of his existence.  I feel what he feels.  I know what he will say or think before he does.  The same words come out of our mouths at the same time. I am being swept up in his final chapter and living it with him.

The quiet time

It was a busy day.  Cooked fresh peas and canned peach jam, salsa, and bread and butter pickles.  That went along with house cleaning, laundry, dishes (as you can imagine from the canning), and trying to make the man rest more comfortable.  This is a near impossible task, but it was finally accomplished late in the afternoon with he and I having a marathon of old TV shows – The Rifleman and Dr. Quinn.

His decline in health is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, I want to do everything for him, but on the other it troubles him for me to do that because it only amplifies his helplessness.  And let me tell you, helplessness is not a word he has needed until now.

When he first fell in March, I really believed he would get over it, but I am now beginning to wonder.  At 87 it would not be unthinkable to be seeing the beginning of the end.  He and I have had lots of conversations about this very thing because of our 30 year age difference, but talking and experiencing is (as you all know) two different things.  Always before he has said that he was thinking only about living, not dying.  He hasn’t said that in a while, and I am afraid to ask.

It is this time of night that I am finally assured of the peaceful completion of a day.  I have never been so uncertain before.  But now, in the cool of the summer night,  he lies here beside me, snoring softly, and I feel the comfort of his presence, the strength of his character, the surety of his love, and the steadfastness of his care.  I don’t think age can take these things away.

 

 

                                   

The loss of a child

I was reading about a young couple that lost their first child unexpectedly.  As they contemplated having another child, a support group of couples that had been through the same adversity gave them added strength.

My grandmother had been married for 17 years to a philandering man, when she found herself pregnant for the second time.  Her only child was already 16 when she delivered a seemingly healthy baby boy.  Richard gave her joy in a relationship that had never been ideal.  He was a happy, fat little one, born in February.  Come June he was obviously not thriving as he should. He had trouble breathing, and in the Texas heat with no air conditioning in 1947,  it was greatly exacerbated.  She finally took him to the doctor; one of those old family doctors that had even been known to make house calls.  As he listened and examined Richard, it was obvious something was wrong with his heart beat, but being an old country doctor he could do little.  He sent my grandmother with her four-month old baby to a specialist that very day.  My grandmother did not have a car and had ridden the bus to the doctor’s office.  She had only prepared one bottle and an extra diaper not realizing she would be going to another doctor.  She called my mother then 16 to get on the bus and bring her the necessary supplies to make another trip across town to another doctor knowing the entire time that it couldn’t be good.  Resupplied she went alone with Richard to the specialist.

The specialist gave her the bad news.  There was nothing he could do.  Richard had an enlarged heart, and he would not live very long.  All she could do was take him home and love him for the time she had left with him.

In comes her husband, my grandfather.  He had not been home much since the baby’s birth, and as I said he was a playboy so that was not unusual.  When she told him the news, he refused to believe it and insisted that they take Richard to Houston (they lived in Dallas) to a doctor that he swore was some kind of miracle man.  These doctors in Dallas just didn’t know what they were talking about, so he had a relative with a car come and take his little family to Houston while he stayed home.

It was breathtakingly hot at the beginning of July, and cars with no air conditioning were the norm. For those that understand the heat of the southwest,  you know it is just indescribable how stifling it can be.  Upon arrival Richard was gasping for breath, so they rushed to the hospital.  The relatives dropped off my grandmother and Richard, and they took my mother to another relative’s house in Houston to stay.

All alone,

 

in a strange hospital,

 

 

my Mama Lou held her precious baby as he died in her arms a few minutes later.

 

 

He was buried in an unmarked grave in a city far from home.

 

 

There was no one to support her.

 

She divorced my grandfather shortly thereafter.

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