Sunday, August 7, 2011

Still here, and thinking

Tomorrow is HS' birthday, but he suggested we postpone celebrating for a bit, and he will declare an official birthday this year instead. It all feels very symmetrical, his father preparing to leave us just as the son comes to another birthday.

I've been thinking about what hospice seems to have done for HP, which is to give him permission to stop struggling to compensate for his physical losses, just rest, let us do for him, and not feel pressed to try more. He has not had anything to eat or drink since Monday, but is still breathing steadily, but quieter now and very little head movement or acknowledgment of people around him. I was up with him in the middle of the night, just checking, gave him meds to help breathing and to help him feel relaxed.

More friends visited yesterday, and it seems to be to be so much better this way, to have people come in to celebrate him while he's still here with us and can sense their presence, rather than do all that after he can no longer take part. Last night's visitor was a young woman who's known us since she was a little girl, and we laughed, one on each side of him, as we remembered his saving her from spiders and other such adventures.

Another friend spent a couple of hours talking and chatting with us, but only a brief time close by HP since it tires him, but I'm pretty sure he knew she was there.

She is an old friend, one of our very first petcare clients, and we had a great time reminiscing about her various cats and their exploits over the years. All three of us, HS pinch hitting at times, have taken over her petcare while she traveled on business, and since HS was there taking part, it was really happy for all of us. And, since she had a medical training, she was a very good, skilled visitor -- she had grilled our home health aide on Friday, and was satisfied that she was as good as I said she was! she also commented on how rarely the family members were as in tune as HS and I, in agreement on what we were doing and why.

This is a surprisingly happy time for all of us, not what I expected,but the peacefulness of it all is working on everyone, and the steady stream of people visiting, one bringing me berries from the local farm (I'm Italian, we do food, she explains) is a great blessing, so much better to be at home where people drop in and out casually on their usual daily rounds. Several of them are surprised that this time doesn't have to be about suffering and pain, at least not for HP, and that HS and I can laugh and joke, knowing HP is okay,we're doing his care together for the weekend.

I like that, a good experience for us all.


  1. You really sound comfortable and happy. I think it is nice that you have all these visitors dropping by and sharing your memories while HP is still around. I think not all of them would make it to a hospital or hospice but come happily to your home and it is also a nice way to say good bye as each visit might be the last one...

  2. its lovely that you can laugh and be comfortable around HP, I'm sure being surrounded by family and friends in a jolly mood will ease his passing whenever that may be. Stay strong x

  3. Your experience is to be remembered, I can't think of a better way. I think of you all.

  4. I once saw a large, adult sized cradle in a pioneer village house - museum village, and commented on the size of child that would hold. The guide informed me it was for an adult - adults in their last days would be rocked like babies, comforted. I'd never heard of such a thing, but think how comforting this would have been. Home hospice care was all they had "back then". Liz and HP are demonstrating the best it can be, a valuable life lesson for us all. - Jean in Cowtown

  5. I am so glad that things are happening so easily and peacefully for you all now. It's great that your friends are having a laugh and remembering good times with HP rather than doing what most of us seem to do and wait 'til the funeral when our loved ones are no longer there to enjoy the stories.

  6. I'm glad you got to have hospice there for you -- hospice is wonderful! They give not just the patient, but everyone involved, permission to stop struggling and to accept the process and the journey, and take the opportunity to focus on the moment -- it's such a relief when someone else steps in and says "Let us help. We can take it from here." Peace and strength to all of you.

  7. It does sound remarkably peaceful and pleasant - I'm glad for it.

  8. Thank you, Liz, for allowing us to share in this. Even those of us who are too far away to be there with you both. I remember spending many days a few years back with my friend J. and her family. It was so peaceful.


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