Tuesday, March 17, 2009
(warning - may be a sad one - I was told I had to do that by my daughters) I am not really sure what this post is to accomplish. It is a bit of a catharsis for me. I hope it will be informational for some, possibly even inspirational for others that may be going through a similar event in their life (although I profoundly hope there would be no others going through what we are - I know there are) Sunday as we were getting ready to leave Florida for home, my wife started weeping rather uncontrollably. Being the tough macho guy that I am, I kept a stiff upper lip - for about 30 seconds. I HATE seeing my wife cry (or any other loved one), especially a sad, wailing, cry. I asked her what was wrong, but it was one of the teary events where you cannot even talk. She was brushing her teeth at the time, and between the toothpaste, toothbrush, and weeping - communication was not possible. So, I just was just there. Then I teared up myself. Watching her, a grown woman, RN, mother of six, and grandmother of two (with another on the way) not being able to really brush her teeth (we have an electric brush for home, but travel with a normal one) struck me as one of the saddest things I have ever seen. Her coordination to really do the "brushing" motion is just not there any more. So, we wept together. She for, at the time, an unknown reason; me, for what she was going through and what we have to face going forward. As we got in the car later, she broke down again saying goodbye to her mother. I had a hard time with this one as well as I knew she was unfathomably sad. Goodbyes are always hard. As we got on the road, we composed ourselves a bit. Then we talked. Now, I don't know how many of you have or have had a loved one on death row. (actually not a great comparison as there is always a chance of the governor calling - pretty sure this is above the governor's pay grade) Talk about an elephant in the room! We have talked in small circles around it, but never really in depth or details. This was pretty much the same except she started it with a tearful look and a question that ripped at my heart. She asked me through sobs "Will this be the last time I see my mother's house? Will I die before we get back?" By now, she was crying uncontrollably and I was having trouble seeing the road. I had no witty response. I had no great comeback. I just told her - "We will make a point to.". I don't remember exactly what was said next, or how we got there; but I told her I was very, very sorry she was sick. I told her I would give almost anything if she was not. We were now weeping again (being a tough, macho type - maybe I was just tearing up a bit - weeping sounds a bit wimpy). She told me she was sorry I had to deal with her. I told her I was where I should be. If I did not want to be where I was, I would leave. I reminded her I was in for the duration. We rode in silence for a while. I am not sure about her, but I still found my eyes getting wet from time to time. There was once about two hours later where she had dozed off. I looked over at this woman that I married over 35 years ago. She was shaking with her Parkinson's tremors with her hands curled on her lap. She looked so helpless....and sick, I guess. I remembered how just three years ago we were saying goodbye as she headed for work. Her loss of her physical self has been amazingly rapid. I found myself reaching for a napkin to dry my eyes. Luckily, she has not lost any of her mental self. She is still crazy, funny, and enjoys a laugh. We just have to work harder to find things to laugh about. We made it through the rest of the ride with the elephant safely in the back seat. No more discussions, no more tears. We even laughed a bit from time to time.