Maureen, I found the news of your sister's passing here, in the journal, pretty much right before I received I your e mail.
The news didn't shock me, no.
I understood through our friendship and correspondence that she had rallied, so long, and so hard, that her time would be soon.
It's always too soon, for us left behind...
I'm thinking of you, that if you are even reading this, it's through a surrealistic eye about now, and thinking about that makes me remember, what it was like, to say goodbye daily to someone I loved. Having to leave, never knowing if I could say "Hello" again.
And I am posting this here, because I think there's much that should be said regarding the trials of the sick and rallying.
I'm posting this here, because I think we all need to know we're not alone--words on a screen typed by me? Can that make a difference?
I don't know.
I would love to "will" this glass fluid and reach a hand through and hold yours tonight.
Words are useless when touch is at the ready.
I would love to will these words magick--that they might do just that--and lend comfort to you, and all of our friends here at Pip, and in our daily touchstone life.
But...I can only talk about what I know.
* * *
My family and I took turns sitting with my father. He had this anxiety about medication--simple pain meds would produce a rage in him that frightened the hospital staff, and unless a family member was with him at all times, they strapped him down.
He hated feeling "doped."
His mother had died of Alzheimer's, and he had a fear of that helplessness--so he fought the nurses and orderlies who tried to ease his pain with narcotics.
He scared them too.
He was old, he was sick, but he was strong.
smile...there must be somethin' to that comanche' blood legend.
My father could kick ass--even in straps at 150 lbs.
It wasn't pretty.
But it was him.
* * *
During these times, I learned about prayer. I thought about the motivation of my own prayers, and that is when I had a profound questioning of faith, intention, and result.
I understood that I know longer knew what to pray for.
My prayers were very simple first:
"Let him LIVE."
I confess I prayed valiantly, unceasing, at his bedside, even while he was not in his right mind.
One evening, I arrived for my "shift" and found him in the midst of an argument with my mother.
There was a styrofoam cup on that sink counter, and it had a straw in it. He was protesting loudly that he was on oxygen and somebody oughtta "put out that cigarette."
My mother was trying--she really was--patiently explaining that he was not seeing a cigarette in an ashtray, but a straw in a cup.
He was in total disbelief and anxiety.
So I just stubbed out the "cigarette," and he was immediately relieved. I told my exhausted mother, "go home and take a break--I'll be here, or one of us will be here."
So she went home for that much needed break and I was alone with my Dad. Terrified.
He talked to people who weren't there, he called me names and said things that ... well, he'd never meant for me for me to hear.
I massaged his feet, and did what I could (mostly he just liked me to keep the doctors and nurses away from him as much as possible)
and as I did, every now and then he would sleep.
I would try to read, and no, I never watched the tv (television bothered him while sleeping) but I began to think that my original prayers hadn't been about him at all--they were all about me.
I wanted him to LIVE.
HE--on the other hand, wanted to die with a bit of grace and dignity--and for him? That meant AT HOME.
* * *
My prayers changed rapidly from "make him LIVE" to "for god's sake, he deserves to die in peace".
He was out of his mind with meds and they weren't going to release him, so the family and I taught him the answers to the questions that would allow that medical release:
"What's your name Dad?"
"Where are you?"
"Who's your mother?"
"Who am I?"
We guarded him from the nurses (as per his wishes), and as the dope left his system, he became more cognizant and eventually passed that test that allowed him to go home.
* * *
* * *
Peace to you, Maureen, although it may not yet be time for you to know it.
First your feet have to feel the ground again.
* * *
There's more, m'friend, but rest your eyes.
Love to all.
and I wish you all "serenity".
(it's always been a goal)
They released him.
I have to wonder if that's not the perfect analogy of death. Not an ending. Not a beginning, but a simple release to something paralell.