It was hard to leave the hospital for a number of reasons. For Kathleen, tearful goodbyes for one. People she will never see again. Ever. As in the big ‘ever’. For me, it was like leaving a supportive family. There were so many young nurses who treated Kathleen as a beloved aunt, and so many older nurses who treated her like a treasured niece. And for me, just overwhelming kindness and respite. I remember coming in last Sunday morning, and the nurse who was Kathleen’s “constant” (when you have to be constantly monitored, the nurse assigned is called a “constant”) had turned down her sheets and arranged her pillows so perfectly and lovingly, I was expecting to find towel art like at one of those fancy Caribbean resorts. You know, a fresh bath towel origamied into a swan? There were a lot of tears shed. Seeing the hospital retreat away through the back portal window of the ambulance taking us home only added to the defined intensity of the moment.
I was thinking a lot about that guy from back in November who I happened to pass in the hall as he casually asked the nurse, “You called and said my wife is in a coma. Is she here or on the 6th floor.” I cant even remember what he looked like now, just the unphased tone in his voice. Its probably been a few weeks now, perhaps a month where I have become that guy. I know Kathleen is going to die soon and it no longer terrifies me like the way it used to… Same with Kathleen to a different degree. As with each new step along the way, we acclimatized. She literally was placed into her death bed in the living room today. We both cried, but not that much.
Twenty minutes later, we were on the side deck, enjoying the sun and having a bbq with family and a friend who Kath was roomates with last February in the hospital. I was tired and didnt really want to do it, but Kath insisted. It took a good 15min just to transfer her out of the livingroom bed and into the wheel chair to get out to the side deck. But reflecting on it after, the BBQ was a profound reminder of what life is for me. Its finite and you must fight to live sometimes. And I dont mean hold on for the sake of holding on– struggle to make the best of whatever situation you are in. Look for light in those dark places. Make friends and relationships no matter where you are and how you are. And entertaining family and guests 20 min after being placed in your deathbed ? Thats the amazing fighter I have known and loved for almost 26 years.
Pshaw! Death bed, exotic chaise lounger, tomato tomahhto…..
Healthy or sick, home (or side patio) is the preferred locale for lounging. Kathleen, than may be the sexiest hospital gown i have ever seen. Much love, hugs and warmest mushiness.
The only thing I can do at this point is quote a poem by Tennyson.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Dear Kathleen and Mike. Sending so much love and gentle hugs your way…. May the sun shine warm upon your face.. Fran
Take comfort from the love of friends and family that surround you. Mike, you and Kathleen continue to be an inspiration as you take each piece of crappy news in stride and come to terms with what lies ahead. Enjoy the time you have together. The SRC gang would love to come for a visit! Thinking of the two of you often and sending hugs and love!
Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. ~LOVE~
My heart overflows, may its effluence carry the tides of peace and love to you both. You are in my heart and in my thoughts with gratitude and love.
Gentle hugs, warm smiles, and unyielding support.
Dear Mike and Kathleen,
A life of celebrations. Looking at he best life has to offer even in the most difficult situations.
We are here for you
Dear Kathleen and Mike, Once again I am moved by the way you embrace the day and the special people in your lives. Sending love and hugs of friendship, caring and deep appreciation. You are very special people indeed. ♥
To a life well lived.
We are thinking of you both.
Alyson and Bill
It was not that long ago we were on the deck too with you, too Kathleen. Such an honour to be there and know you. There’s no one else we’ve ever known like you. You are all so very special.
You are a constant with us. Huge hugs! Colleen and Terry
Once again, thank you for keeping us posted through your blog Mike. Even with this news you and Kathleen continue to put your best foot forward and inject humour and love in what you say and do. The strong bond between you both shines in ever picture you post. I wish there was more that could be done but it’s not to be, so instead in the time you have left together I wish you much love and laughter, bright conversations, strength and courage. Big gentle hugs to you both.
Although I haven’t been able to make contact often, I have have always been sending a warm hug and smiles your way. In the short time I have been able to be around her, Kathleen has been a role model to me and I think of her frequently. Her candor, her strength of spirit, the way she navigates this world… Truly one of a kind.
real life is about tiny moments of family ,friends, sunshine and now-diane