Feb 09

Bunny Plates on a Little Table

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How do I thank you all for your kindness, your generosity, your presence as I continue to grieve the loss of My Dan?

Some days I need silence, closed shutters, the darkness of dealing with the death of my beloved.

Other days, I want to fling open all the windows and welcome the light.

There’s no rhyme nor reason to either response.

Today, I set the little kitchen table for Spring.

Tomorrow I may detest its sweet offer.

This is what grief looks like.

It’s messy, and fearful, and beautiful in its own way.

It’s bunny plates on a little table.

Jan 09

One Day Shy

My dear and wondrous friends … tomorrow will be one week since My Dan died. I miss him so much I can barely breathe. Today I received 15 awful, dreaded copies of Dan’s death certificate. It was all I could do to keep from falling to my knees. But I made it home where I could speak with a couple of friends who made me laugh and remember and find my legs again. Here’s what I learned today:

1. No one should EVER be a widow or widower.
2. If that happens to you, you must be strong. Strong like Wonder Woman or Super Man.
3. If you feel desperate, it’s okay.
4. Tears will happen.
5. Tears will happen again.

Jan 01

Disappointment or Not …

My Dan has been placed on hospice. A lovely nurse named Star evaluated My Dan and deemed him qualified for service. Things for him will now be wonderfully and blessedly simplified … no more running to three different doctor appointments a week. No more having people come to the house forcing him to exercise with bands and weights in spite of a lung filling with fluid and a body failing with exhaustion and multiple organ disease. Comorbidities, it’s called … when many systems and diseases are involved. Each one builds upon the other, causing a final crash of failure.

It’s good to make the process as gentle as possible. Hospice does that when the time is right.

For us now, there will be one doctor, one nurse, a simplified medication regimen, a calm and quiet atmosphere, and love, love, love. Dan is sleeping nearly 22 out of 24 hours a day now. He’s now on oxygen, which helps his breathing. With a right lung infiltrate and plural effusion, breathing was becoming increasingly difficult by the hour. The hum of the oxygenator provides not only relief, but a comfortable white noise in which to relax. There are some relaxing meds also now on board … liquid medication to help Dan ease into a new sense of serenity.

Even with calming medication, every time Dan wakes, he says he’s disappointed that he woke up. He’s tired. I’m doing my very best to give him a soft and generous landing place whenever he’s awake. His organs are not actively dying at the moment, but he’s simply and completely tired. Things can go this way for quite a while … he’s still eating and drinking fluids as he wants. Although his thoughts are confused and disorganized, he’s still talking. His disappointment may need to stick around for a while. In the meantime, he has Wilson the Labradoodle and Serena the Siamese to keep watch and provide an extra dose of comfort. There is something to be said for the power of fur.

It’s a process … a long process … that we’re navigating as carefully and thoughtfully as we can. It’s been 12 years for us now. No wonder we’re getting tired!

Thank you all for your love. ~ Auburn

Dec 25

Lub dub …

Lub dub, lub dub, lub uh-oh.

Four years ago, My Dan suffered a massive heart attack during a simple angiogram procedure. He received three stents in the right artery, and then another stent following a second MI that evening. He had a third MI the next morning and was diagnosed with right-sided, diastolic heart failure, kidney failure, and now liver failure caused by his heart. He’s survived prostate cancer and lung cancer. He dabbles in some type 2 diabetes, and cognitive impairment. I think that’s plenty enough for one guy to endure.

Following a 2-week hospital stay and a 2-week skilled nursing / rehab facility stay, My Dan is now home. He turned 75 while in the nursing facility.

We want to tell you what it’s like for a guy like Dan to have multiple comorbidities (diseases), and for a wife to participate as his caregiver. We are strong, but we’re struggling. We love that you might follow our journey. If there’s something you might gain from us, we’re honored to share. In the meantime, please know you are loved and we thank you for reading.

We’ve started a Caring Bridge blog and will duplicate the blog here, so you can go where you find it most comfortable to read.

Know, however, that at this page, you’ll also get the latest info on what’s happening with my work on my recent book … a MYSTERY this time. It’s appropriate for me because these days, life is indeed a mystery.

May 14

New Widows, a golfer, and a bride

 

Amidst all the news of the daily tripe of who’s taking away your healthcare, and who’s committing fraud, and whose words are treasonous … amidst footsteps I cannot follow and other breadcrumbs I’m inspired to pick up. Amidst news that one dear friend just lost her husband early this morning and another dear friend is losing her beloved dog within the week. Both are terrible losses, and I make no judgment over which woman might suffer more.

They’ll both suffer.

And then, amidst new earrings that make my ears itch, and finding the first mid-spring scorpion in the house (who needed to be swiftly put out of its misery), and a houseful of beloved family and guests, and their pets … I’m nevertheless watchful over my dear, sweet Dan.

He’s been extra tired lately. I’m watching him.

He’s still going to the golf course, because that’s what he does. He’s a golfer. No, let me rephrase. He. IS. A. Golfer. That’s who Dan is. He’s recently said that if he can’t play golf, he won’t know what to do. My ears itch … did I mention that?

Then again, I’m gloriously happy. My Dan IS. Still. A. Golfer. I have family here for another week and all that means. A granddaughter is having a wedding. We’re all happy and smiling.

And I’ll do my best to not follow breadcrumbs. For a week.

 

Jan 26

I’m Still Here

I asked a question tonight about God who I’m not at all sure about these days. I’m still here. My Dan is still here. But we’re experiencing some struggles and wondering about it all. So, I screwed up a question about God and whether it was worth thinking of that notion. A lovely friend answered that she’d been to a poetry event and found God in the art. I answered: “Thank you. God is indeed in the people’s poetry. Indeed in the art. In our words. The strokes we make on paper. We wouldn’t write down our words if the Universe didn’t listen. Thank you for the reminder of that. Thank you for reminding me of our skin and what we all think of the nonsense of what that all means in the eyes of who might have created all our lovely tones and hues. Thank you especially for reminding me that there are different and fierce and determined ways to find our ways.”

I still don’t know if there’s some sort of God who looks over us, or if we’re just a terrible parasite eating up this beautiful earth.

The good thing is … we’re still here today and poetry still enthralls, and now I’m looking for materials to make a pussy hat so I can march around the inside of our house on behalf of My Dan and all his things.

Dec 31

Fresh New Year

So what exactly did we learn this last year?
Did we find the exact moment when the underground crocus bulbs came alive?
Or did we learn how to efficiently organize our husband’s medicine for the week?
Did we offer ourselves up like a shining martyr?
Or did we fall as any human might?

2015 was a long year, filled with perfect dreams.
And grave disappointments.
Followed once more by sweet triumphs.

I worked hard to keep my hubby alive.
I gave up my art, my writing, my lifeline.
What else would someone do for someone so loved as My Dan?
And he lives. He thrives. He has a pacemaker now.
He sings and thrums through the house.

He’s like a bumblebee, lazing along with a deep base voice.

But where is my pacemaker?
My maker of pace?
Where are my words, my crayons, my pages of writing?
That’s what 2016 is for … to find again those vital things of art.
To discover again the person I once was.

Dan is well.
I will be too.
My duties as caregiver escalate now along a different path.
We’ll talk about that other path another time. Just know
we’ll survive.
We will survive.

Sep 23

The Fragiles

salt shaker

My husband, My Dan, my hero, my always-there-man,

Recently identified himself as fragile.

Fragile!

I dislike that truthful word.

Fragile things nap hours a day in their chair,

A dog at their feet, a robe across their laps.

They breathe in shallow gulps,

Their hands hugging their chest,

Their heart and kidneys in a fight

To the death.

Fragile things seem more aware of the wind,

Less concerned with the news of the day.

They miss salt on their food.

They accept when their right eye

Can no longer see anything but shadow.

Thank god for the left eye, they say.

Fragile things want nothing more than to golf again,

Their ball sailing through a pale blue sky they

No longer see.

Fragile things just want a shake of salt.