5/27/13: Memorial Day. We began the day with phone calls to favorite veterans, including my mom, Evelyn, who has just returned from her dream cruise to Norway. "Thank you for your service," we tell them. It's a tradition here and we believe it's important. We also speak remembrances of those veterans who are no longer with us, including our Dads.
We've never been big Memorial Day/Cookout enthusiasts. When the hub was still working, it was a day at the office. Or maybe, an extra day at the cottage.
Today is, alas, typical of Memorial Days past in that it's cloudy, rainy, and cold. More than once, the kids brought friends to the lake for the weekend, only to find that it was way too cold to go tubing. We have a photo of four friends, determined to enjoy the day, running off the pier and jumping into the lake, holding hands. With the splash, the hands unlocked as they sped toward shore and waiting towels.
And here, 4 days into Hospice, our goal is to live. That is our instruction. That is what pain medication should allow. We will fill our days with family, friends, neighborhood parties, and walks. We will find humor and share laughter. We will continue to thank God for His blessings, for the answers to prayer, for a lessening of pain.
I must say, however, that our living is affected by those wonderful medications that help Mike enjoy this time. As I have had little experience with folks on drugs, I can't help but notice some behaviors that weren't normal a while ago. God continues to give me insight that these are drug related and I can usually laugh; when that's not possible, I can file it under drug-related.
We were discussing something the other morning. I don't remember but as always, these discussions are golden. Then Mike said, "You know, this is like gutting a shark. You cut it down the middle, clean out all of the guts, sew it back together and hope it works."
Pause. "That didn't make any sense at all, did it?"
This morning, in the middle of a really good point, he said, "And that's where the income level is." Oh.
I live with a really smart, well-read man, who has a large store of ideas, references, and illustrations. These days, his brain goes random shopping and pulls out the occasional "Whaaaaaaa?"
We laugh. We gotta.
Then, there are the jerks. When he's asleep, his body with jump and jerk every once in a while. He shutters but does not wake up. If we're holding hands....we do this a lot...it will wake me up.
And, occasionally, he will go off. Like last night. Middle of the night. Following Hospice instructions, I squirted some liquid medicine into his mouth.
EXPLODE: Don't you EVER do that again. Swear it. Go get me something to drink!
And when I did, he swished and spit out the medicine. (As he had time to yell, I'm thinking that a lot of liquid got in) Again the demand for my promise.
(Sure. Ok.) I climbed back into bed, turned over and went to sleep.
During the hospital stay, Mike called the music man at the church and resigned from the band. He believed it was time. Yesterday, Mike called him back and he's back on. He'll get to join his music friends, serving the Lord at Oakbrook Church.
Mike and son have gone shooting a lot. They went clothes shopping. They went something-else-shopping. And now our son will head back home. This last week has been joyful.
We will be back and forth to the lake. We have a full day of appointments on Thursday, including Root Day for me. And so we will be living.
As, actually, we are dying.