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.


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.

Apr 26

Another Summer

Phoenix had a little bit of rain today … some clouds.

We’re told it’s our last weekend of cooler weather (mid-upper 70s) before the heat comes on us like a freight train.

May is always when our first 100s hit.

By July, we’re 115+.

The scorpions are out — I’m always barefoot in the house (stupid me).

The rattlers warm their bones along the hiking trails.

Everyone stays indoors until next November.

My Dan removes his sweater and tans his arms.

I’ve learned which plants have spines.

Jan 30

And Now We’re Old

I’ve lost my singing voice. I was once a singer. In college I was chosen to sing with the California Honor Choir (only a few were chosen), and I sang at Disneyland with my group, and I sang at other places. I held the solo mike. I was a singer.

Now my voice is gone, and so now I listen to other singers.

For example, now I listen to My Dan who sings to the dogs. Instead of worrying about how poor his voice is, he simply sings his two-note songs, with vigor, with a heart bigger than the moon.

He sings to the dogs.

I love My Dan.

He sings to my silence.

Sep 26

It Goes With the Territory

My Dan sleeps.

He naps during the day.

Gentle, tender naps.

He dreams the wild dreams by night.

He has something called (briefly) RBD.

The long name is Rem Behavior Disorder.

It means that his body moves with his dreams.

He flies from the bed.

He has wings.

And fists to fight his dream-foes.

We’ve done what we can to protect us both.

Many RBD people develop Parkinson’s

Or Lewy-Body Dementia.

My Dan has so many things.

Including now another round of

Skin Cancer.

Apr 29

The Bottom of the Cup

My Dan. a cylinder of efficiency;
One day, a golfing wizard,
The next, struggling to pull his putt
From the bottom of the cup.

Yesterday, we met with a nurse from the
Arizona Palliative Home Care folks.
She was beautiful. Smiling. Informative.
She gave us a packet.

My Dan is eligible for hospice.
He’s not ready.
He still in argument with life
And death…and low sodium … and cheese.

So, we chose Palliative Care.
We’ll keep him free from
Pain and missed putts.

I’ll gather myself as I can.

And I’ll cook with Parmesan cheese.

Apr 15

One Happy Sea Change


We talked
Three nights ago
We talked.

My Dan is a brilliant thinker,
While I’m slow.
So very slow.
Slow is okay, he says.
Brilliant is better, I say.

He said he was happy.
He said we’ll all die at some time.
He reminded me that I could go first.
Then he said he’d love if he’d go on the golf course,
Or the bookstore—either would be grand,

While I’d sadly go, still fussing over whether
He’s happy or not.

He’s happy, he said.
He’s Pharrell Williams “Happy,” he said.

With his words, My Dan changed my seas.

Thank you, My Beautiful Husband.
Thank you, Sea Change.
Thank you, Pharrell.
Thank you, Happy!

Apr 12

The Thing About Hearts and Limping Dogs


And now here we are … I have a limping dog that needs to see the vet, and a husband with very difficult heart and lungs, and kidneys that can’t decide if they’re in Stage III or Stage IV disease, and then, there’s my own heart that refuses to accept any of it. I’ve no idea at all about my own kidneys … or my heart that catches my breath and flips and flops all the time … or my dear liver that’s been drinking in all this wine of late.

I’m deeply suffering from what some might call Pre-Grief. It’s unremitting, and as wide and unpredictable as any ocean might be.

It’s ridiculous. There’s nothing to really fuss about, yet here I am fussing away like a two-year-old in full tantrum. I’m sorry, but this is what a sensitive-hearted wife does. She simply fusses beyond reason, and I’m really, really sorry about it all. It makes me cry. It makes my heart sadder than sad.

I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know what to say. It’s all so very silly, and I’m so very embarrassed by this response to something beyond my control. Still, this is what I’m doing.

I can’t seem to help myself.

Lately, I’ve been researching palliative comfort care (not to be confused at all with hospice care) for a man who sees no reason for any of it. We talked about it tonight … he’s happy. He goes to the book store for tea and magazines. He goes to the library where he reads the local newspaper. He catches up with his golfing buddies as they round the 9th tee. He is fine. He’s happy. He doesn’t care about his terrible and frightening symptoms. “I’ve lived a good and long live. I’ll die when I die,” he says. He’s happy.

It appears I’m the one who needs the palliative care. I’m the one who needs to find comfort. It’s said that caregivers often suffer more than their caregiveree. I’m beginning to notice the truth of that.

Maybe I’m just another limping dog who doesn’t know what to do until someone takes me to the vet.