Today was the day I felt was the last day to get in touch with Agnes Joines to say it doesn't look like I'll be able to participate in the Hillbilly Show this year. Practice is Friday night and the show Saturday night. I want to be a part of it, because I love it, but no matter what happens with Jr between now and then, I can't go. I'll watch the movie.
Today is the 4th day in a row Jr has had nothing to eat and nothing to drink. 9 days before that he had only an ensure a day. I'd always heard that we can only live 3 days without water. Maybe Jr is setting a Guinness world record on how long he can make it without water or anything. His external reasoning is, if he drinks something he'll have to pee. If he eats something he'll have to shit. And he doesn't want to do either one any more. This morning he said his mouth was dry. I suggested merely a sip of apple juice to wet his mouth. No, it'll go right through me. Water? No. Ensure? No.
Several days ago I did a little barking to hear my head roar, to at least attest to myself that I made an attempt to get something in him. Yesterday and the day before, when I offered him an ensure, he said, 'What's the use?' Meaning he knows he's dying, there's no turning around, so why hang on. If his heart won't stop of its own, he'll help it along by taking nothing in to keep the body going.
Some of my friends are asking how I'm doing, got to think about myself. I'm doing fine. Because I'm not thinking about myself. After last week's stress peak, I've settled considerably. When I feel the stress now, it's over as soon as I get solved whatever caused it. Like last night I woke in the night to him calling me. He'd set out to walk to the bathroom with the walker. He went to the floor and sat there for some time, he said an hour (a period of time longer than a Southern minute that can be any amount of time). I lifted him up to the walker and let him shuffle back to the bed as I held him by the ribs. When he was settled back in bed, I went back to sleep easily.
I'm really not having a hard time. Once in awhile I get frustrated, but that's everyday life. This doesn't mean I'm in denial about Jr's any day demise. I don't see any need to dwell on that yet. My role is to keep him comfortable and in good spirit. That keeps me comfortable and in good spirit. A candle burning keeps the air clear--I don't know how that works, but it does. I've kept one burning in his room the last several days, initially to keep the chamber pot odor down, but find as a benefit it somehow clarifies the air. Reading helps a lot, talking every day on the phone with my friend Carole helps even more.
Support offered by my friends and others means as much in intent as action. Writing the blog helps in that it's become for this period of time something of a journal. I'm journaling. Another one of those good new verbs like googling. Blogging, another of the new verbs, keeps me grounded.
I'm so used to it in his place that I am at home there as much as at my house with the cats. I do miss the cats. No question about that. And they miss me, but I see them daily and they don't go hungry. Curiously, 4 times now, I've woke in the night believing TarBaby was beside me. The gesture of my hand reaching to touch him wakes me and he's not there. Strange feeling. His presence was strong in my sleep. Also, in the dream of his presence, I'm in my own bed at home. When I wake, I'm on the floor in Jr's living room. It takes a second for it to register what's happening. If I were a cat, I'd shake my head til my ears buzzed like hummingbird wings.
It's a time of waiting, for all of us concerned. The nurses know it, I know it, everyone around Jr knows it, Jr knows it. Ross is already starting to show the stress of his fear of life after Jr. It's not an easy time. My inclination for prayer is to lift his spirit from the body and love him for eternity. I'd actually like to see his response when the light comes for him.
I won't ask for it, though, because I don't know what I'd be asking for. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to help Jr Maxwell be able to drift away in his own home, in his own bed, in his own time.