This past Monday began as it usually does. I wake at the buttcrack of dawn, downing coffee as I get the dogs fed and “pottied”, getting myself dressed and heading out to spend the morning and early afternoon with P & C.
Whereas the typical Monday has usually been spent playing dominos, watching westerns, playing on the computer together, downing enormous amounts of coffee, and bouncing between conversation and companionable comfortable silences… this one is a bit different.
True to form, I’m met at the door by two dogs bouncing up and down and vying with each other for the first bit of attention. And as I let myself in the front door, I hear “Well there’s Susan! Hello darlin!”
But I am not greeted by the sight of a wheelchair being propelled with one leg to the door for a good morning smooch and a goofy grin when I produce a couple of doughnuts. I walk instead to the side of a hospital bed placed in the living area so that C can be a part of all the activity.
2 weeks ago, he was brought home from the hospital with Hospice’s help. The days have been up and down… one day being quite alert and the next few being the kind of days when nothing can rouse him. With each one that passes we know that the end is closer and that C will soon be Home with our Father.
This day was an “alert” day and as I bent over the side of the bed, I was greeted with a pair of lips puckerin’ up for a smooch! Though it’s difficult to understand what he’s saying at times, “I love you” came through loud and clear.
The last “alert” day we had together before this one, I was feeding him cream of wheat and chattering away about all manner of things when he reached up to stop my wrist and said “I’m dying”. In his way, he was preparing me for what I already knew was going to happen.
While P was gone for an hour to take care of other things that needed her attention too, I sat in a chair next to the bed watching this man that I have grown to love dearly, holding his hand as he slept. The house quiet, the lights dim, I was startled from my thoughts by a “HEY”…”Whatcha need C?”… “I love you”… “I love you too C”… then quiet as he drifted off to sleep once more.
This was no deathwatch… this was a lovewatch!
I thought back on all the shared suppers and the endless games of dominos and Wii Bowling and C’s very first SuperBowl party, of him sneaking sweet pickles and crackers before guests even had a shot at them at the Christmas party, of organ music serenades, of him dancing in his chair to music as it played and of him sitting before the stage at church and watching as I played with the band there, a crooked smile on his face. And I sat there praising God for this man and all he’d brought to my life. For the smiles and the pranks and the childlike joy and the laughter and the love and the intensity with which he lived life within the physical boundaries he’d been dealt.
Oh such love!
I left the house that afternoon as P rested in the recliner at his bedside, holding his hand and being there with him as he slept. A picture that will not soon be erased from my mind…another lovewatch!
The call came this morning. The battle is over. C is with Our Father and finally at peace and whole again. There have been tears but there is also peace and gladness in the knowing that there is no more pain or suffering for this man… only joy!
And I know darn good and well he already has the dominos set up waiting for me!