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Sunday, October 18, 2009


cosmic chagall #3

In the night last night Jr called to me. He was barely able to speak. Actually unable to speak. He made attempts at words on breaths, not quite whispers. He took hold of the neck of his sweatshirt that was tight on his neck, because the shirt was pulled down in back. He said, knife. I found some good scissors and cut about 10" down the front to open it for him. Another time he called and woke me wanting to go pee. It was the old way of having to lift him from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to pottie chair, pottie chair to wheelchair, wheelchair to bed.

This morning I found him crossways on the bed with legs hanging over the side. Barely conscious. I went to lift his legs to the bed and his face scrunched up like a raisin from the pain. I asked if he was comfortable with legs hanging over the edge. He said he was. OK. He lay on the bed all day like his soul was leaving he body, mouth hanging open, asleep most of he time. A couple of phone calls he couldn't function with.

Dean Richardson dropped in and I took him to show him Jr's condition. Later, John came in. John was deeply moved. Jr has always been a part of their lives. I don't know how close as friends, but he was always there, and John and Ross knew him since they were children and he was grown. I know that to a child in his world, Jr was the coolest one of all the adults.
I can see that for a child he would be somebody you'd look up to all your life.

Dean was telling me Jr was older than him in school by 7 years, so he was one of the big kids. He said Jr liked to put boxing gloves on the kids and teach them about boxing. Dean never wanted to box. I told him Jr picked up something from his attention on boxing when he was a kid. In boxing like a martial art, being able to take it is as important as giving it. Jr does know how to take it. He has taken enough to bring a rhino to its knees several times.

I've been on the verge of tears all day long. This morning I sat on the bed beside Jr and looked at him awhile, either asleep or far away, and my heart started welling up and eyes turning wet, feeling a tear creep down my cheek, knowing that if I let go it might go on a half hour to an hour. I didn't want to do that, so I got up and left the room thinking it probably would have been best to go ahead and bawl every bit of it out, yet at the same time, it felt artificial. It was self-conscious by then, determining whether or not to let it go took the spontaneity out of it, so I decided to save it for a time when it's more spontaneous, when I can't help but. It may be tomorrow.

Had to call Hospice nurse in the evening to ask her to come over. I'd called in the morning, but there didn't seem to be any urgency about it. He was comfortable, just different in that he couldn't move. That's all. I asked her to please come and look at him, because I'd been sitting with him all day in the same position, only moving a hand now and then. Breathing so shallow I couldn't see it. To tell if he was living I'd wait to see a finger or hand move. Today, seeing his profile on the pillow, I saw my grandpa Brink, my mother's dad, in his old age. I hadn't realized they favored each other so much. Similar noses and and face structure, as well as hair. It wasn't a perfect likeness, just enough to bring grandpa to mind. That made it all the sadder.

I went about the house today doing what I do, read, wash dishes, do laundry, feed the crows, with a heart running over, seeing Jr with not very much time left and really showing it, wanting to put my face on his shoulder and cry, but couldn't allow it, it would have been more than a shoulder could handle. Even now, a tear meanders down my cheek, one side, then the other. It's a welling up in the heart that overflows through the eyes.

I've been taking care of him because I believe his soul is valuable on the earth and valuable in my small world. I see it fading away like a candle down to the last bit of wax, the flame weakening and going on weakening until the tiniest little blue line around the top of the wick vanishes and a line of white smoke ascends.

Nurse came by, found he had a temperature of 100. She crushed a tylenol and mixed it with a teaspoon of apple juice, put it in a syringe and put it on his tongue a drop at a time, then with a sponge swab on the end of a stick like a smaller tootsie pop soaked with apple juice to get some moisture in his mouth despite being unwilling to drink something.

We pulled him around lengthwise on the bed using the pads under him to keep from having to handle him, which hurt. She got his temperature down to 98 before she left. She said his empty stomach helped the tylenol go to work fast. We covered him with a sheet and let him drift off to sleep again.

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