Thursday, 23 March 2017

Still Hanging On,

both of us, Beloved by no more than a laboured breath.

End stage kidney failure is closing in towards the end, no doubt about it. All the classic signs are there; the doctors say whatever they do now will make no difference at all. Keeping him distress-free and comfortable, those are the sole objectives now. He will, eventually, just fall asleep and not wake up. That’s my hope, anyway.

Yesterday he was sitting in his chair, he’d had some soup at lunch and a few drinks of tea and water; he ate a small slice of chocolate cake in the afternoon and I thought: ‘brilliant, there is enough life left to do that.’ Perhaps, perhaps . . . .

Strange, I am still hoping for a miracle, how silly of me. When he wanted to get up to use the bathroom (really, to what end? He produces almost nothing now), I called the carers who promptly turned up with the usual hoist. He was too weak to grip the handles, although the inflatable seat thing was doing most of the work. After much effort and, seemingly, pain, they gave up and brought another hoist, a larger one which scoops him out of his chair.

To my shame I admit that I couldn’t bear to stay and watch; it was time for me and Millie to leave anyway, so I took the opportunity between hoisting manoeuvres to kiss him good-bye and leave. By the time the whole operation would be finished he’d be too weak to take much notice of me anyway.

His deterioration is rapid. Last weekend he was still very different. Both his children visited, over different days, and they really had the best of him, most likely also the last of the good days. Both came over two days, for hours at a time, and both managed to have a sort of conversation with him, although he didn’t entirely make sense. On both occasions he was wheeled into the garden and on the last day with N., Beloved’s son, we actually sat outdoors in mild spring sunshine.

“A lovely family reunion,” Beloved said afterwards, he’d obviously conflated the two visits into one. He also thought his mum had been present; it turned out that I represented the old lady who has been dead for many decades. No matter, he truly loved his children’s visit.

On the day N. was here Beloved and I had our 30th wedding anniversary, although he barely understood what that meant and quickly forgot the date. In the evening, N. and I went to the local pub where we had a leisurely meal and did something we have hardly done during all the time his Dad and I have been together: we talked. Really talked. It felt good.

In fact, I have become closer to both his son and daughter during the period of Beloved’s illness. Isn’t it sad that it takes a catastrophe for people to learn that they can get on without vague undercurrents of resentment and bias.

It’s late and I must end here, but given the chance I will tell a tale or two of a lighter nature, to do with other residents of the care home. The seven weeks up to now have not been unrelieved doom and gloom, there have been brighter moments too and, in spite of the pain and loss I am feeling, the one thing I was truly afraid of will now not happen: his body will not outlive his mind. Look at it whichever way you want, that is surely a blessing.


36 comments:

  1. Yes, hugs from here in Texas, too. How faithful you are to continue to include us in your journey. It is a story of Love that we all appreciate.... Thank you.

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  2. Many hugs from here as well, and you are right about that blessing. I hope he can be pain-free and that you will find comfort.

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  3. I understand your wish for a miracle. Life is so precious. Hugs and prayers.

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  4. I think of you every so often and wonder how he is going and how you are coping.

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  5. May his passing be peaceful. It is wonderful that his family is growing closer.

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  6. I am so glad to read that two of his children visited and you got a chance to talk. From the worst of times, comes some good.

    My mom died of kidney failure. It was peaceful and she seemed to be in no pain. A blessing.

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  7. Thank you for your brave and sharing heart, my friend. It can't be easy. But little blessings come through like connection with son and daughter of B.

    Peaceful ending. Much to be desired.

    Ginormous hugs.

    XO
    WWW

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  8. Blessed be, friend ... Love, cat.

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  9. It IS a blessing, Friko. I am so glad to read that both Beloved's children overcame whatever their problem was, and Beloved enjoyed their visits so much. You are right, it is sad that it takes something like that to get N. and you to really talk, but better late than never.
    Returning to the last bit about your post, it reminded me of a thought that came to me soon after Steve died. I remembered the conversations we had had about death - neither of us ever suspecting it would become so poignant a topic for me so soon - when Steve said that one of his biggest fears was that I would die before him, and leave him on his own to go through the rest of his life without me.
    When he died, I often thought he would now never have to face this fear, and I drew relief and comfort of the thought.
    I sincerely hope that Belove's death will happen just like you say.

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  10. Dear Friko - this is good to read ... that Beloved's children have been to see him and he has that memory somewhere lodged ... more importantly you know the visits gave him happiness. Excellent you and N have had that long chat and the visits have brought the two children, I hope, closer to you. Life is funny - I remember too well the funny times with other residents and the things I saw and amused me - it's good you too have experienced some of these clips of life for some positive laughter. With many thoughts to you both - Hilary

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  11. So glad the children have been but so sad. I feel for you, as you say it would be best just to go to sleep and not wake up. I hope when my time comes that is how I will go. Take care and warm hugs Diane

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  12. How wonderful that your Beloved and his children had this time together.

    I'm glad you had a nice time with his son, and yes it is sad that it takes something like this to bring people together. Let by-gones be just that, gone. Let love and caring take over.

    I pray that Beloved's passing will be quiet and peaceful. I pray for you to be filled with peace, love and strength.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

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  13. Very endearing - your love and dedication. Hugs.

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  14. Thank you for keeping your followers informed of the progress of Beloved's illness. I too am glad that there is some healing taking place during these difficult days. And that, as you said, his body will not outlive his mind. Many loving thoughts are coming your way from all over the world, Friko.

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  15. a blessing indeed. I can't think of anything worse than a body with no mind. so glad he children came and were able to see him still there. your Beloved has rallied, as they do shortly before the end. I don't think it will be long now.

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  16. Peace. All I can think of to say is peace; to you, your Beloved, his children, all.

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  17. I am so grateful Beloved's children came to visit and that it was a "good" day. And equally grateful that you and N were able to talk and that you have all become closer. We take our small gifts as they come and this one wasn't small.

    Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. To have your mind is a miracle. To fall asleep and depart the earth without the stress and pain that affects so many is a miracle. To survive with strength and love is also a miracle. I wish many small miracles for you.

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  18. I hope he wanders peacefully away for good in his sleep, too.
    That is truly a silver lining that the kids came and you got to get behind the walls. Whether it lasts or not, it is a precious thing.
    Many heartfelt hugs. Love, Rita

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  19. So much of what you write is so familiar to me. Your time with your Beloved is precious as his fatigue and confusion grow. I'm glad to see that you are taking the best of every visit because you are still making memories - that didn't stop with his illness. I think of you often and wish I could show up for a walk with you.

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  20. Thank you so much for keeping in touch with all of us. I have been thinking a great deal of you lately and wondering how things were with you and Beloved. This is so sad, but there have been blessings and it is good that his children have shared good visits with both of you.

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  21. I spent yesterday talking to a friend whose husband is in hospice. The greatest difficulty is that he is in pain and has to be given larger doses of painkiller which means she and he have little to talk about anymore. She has family close, so that is some consolation. Those of us on the outside of the drama do care and do wish you our best. Life and death and family is all of it.

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  22. I had wonderful talks with my step Mom in the last years of her life. It felt good to talk to her and I'm sure she felt the same.

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  23. I'm glad that your husband was able to have that time with his children...and that circumstances allowed you and his son to have a meeting of minds.
    There aren't many positives in the situation but that his body will not outlive his mind is, as you say, a blessing.
    We do think of you...frequently.

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  24. Sending hugs and love to you both, and Millie, too, from both of us.

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  25. Once again your fluency and delicate use of words leave me lost for words. I keep checking in to see how things are: on one hand so sorry for the situation, on the other grateful that Beloved is painfree for the most part and that this does not look as if it will go on for too long. But so, so, sorry for all you are going through. Something we all have to face at some timem but none the easier for that. Thinking of you and thank you for keeping us updated.

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  26. I wish I could send perfect words to offer you solace and strength. But perfection isn't a part of this world in any sense, so I send you love, and hopes that, as Julian of Norwich put it, that "“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

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  27. All I can do is to send you a warm hug. You are an amazing person.

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  28. Hugs to you from an American at a refugee camp in Greece.

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  29. I am glad his children came. I am sending good thoughts your way.

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  30. Truly you are a couraggeous wife doing all you can even celebrating the 30th with Beloved. It is important that the kids made an effort to see the situation and give their dad the joy and comfort he must have been hoping for in some way.
    I too once walked out of the room when a loved one was being hoisted because it was just too hard to stay. I think of you often. Hugs from my end as well.

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  31. Brave Friko, I send my admiration.

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  32. It doesn't sound at all silly to hope for a miracle - it sounds human. I'm glad this time has brought you closer to his children. And wish peace for you all.

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  33. Thinking of you fondly. Thank you for posting

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  34. Thinking of you all with much admiration and respect as you face these final hours and days. May you have much comfort and peace.

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