Friday, July 4, 2014

62 Years

Today is my parent's 62 wedding anniversary.  It will be their last.

The frantic days of diagnosis and getting things in place are gone.  There really wasn't a window of time to get things in place before the folks got confused and forgetful, so I'm glad I did it.  They recognize and trust the people who come in to care for Dad.  It sounds like a team, but it's not.  It's a nurse once a week, a home health aide 3 times a week, and me daily for feeding and cleaning.  A neighbor's pastor comes over once a week to visit, and I appreciate that as well.

Daddy asked me a few weeks ago "How will this kill me" and I really didn't know what to say.  I said "You will sleep more and more and then one day you won't wake up."  He was quiet for a minute and said "that doesn't sound so bad."

The truth is, if he's lucky, he will starve to death before the cancer takes hold somewhere that would lead to a more unpleasant death.  So many ways to die.

I take his vital signs each day and watch him slowly waste away, his blood pressure and blood sugar fall.  When my stomach prolapsed a few years ago I was near death and didn't even realize it, and as I recall it wasn't unpleasant-but of course I didn't know I was dying.  Still, I can say for certain starving to death doesn't actually hurt, which is good to know.

I think we actually fear pain more than we fear death.  I know I do.  But years of looking after daddy, standing through crisis and staring down death and saying "go away" makes it all the more frustrating to not be able to do that any longer.  It's hard to give up.  It's hard knowing what will happen, but not knowing exactly when.  It's hard acting like I know exactly what I am doing because that seems to comfort Mom and Dad.

I miss my life.  I miss tournaments and training and caring about how fast my dogs run.  I still go to practice on Sundays with my pup-letting him get behind would only create more grief when the day comes I care about these things again.  I work the adults at home to keep them in shape, and we train silly tricks and such.  That really has nothing to do with caring about racing-I still do care very much about my dogs, who are working dogs and must work.

Actually I sat down and made the decision that that is the part of life my life I would keep throughout this.  A little anchor to find my way back when this was all done.  I think that is one of the ways dogs look out for US-reminding us that life goes on, the dog must be fed.

I worry about Mom-she really doesn't have that anchor.  Her husband of 62 years will die, she will move (her choice) and then what?  She faces as much unknown as Daddy does by dying.  A death of her life as she knows it.

But, today we will hang out and watch TV and just be together.  That's really all we have left to do.