Monday, August 25, 2008

Breathe, Pause, Breathe

...breathe, too long a pause, breathe again.

These are our precious moments in hospice with my mother-in-law. Time is strangely suspended and marked only by touchpoints of watchfulness...she ate a bite, she required a higher dose of this, she's being turned, she speaks a word or two, she sleeps again.

It is not grim, it is not ok, it is not tragic, it is not wonderful. But it's precious.

I'm here fulltime now, and Jack is still working a few more days till we hear it is time for him to suspend himself here, too. He commutes an hour here after his work and sleeps nearby her bed. We're a tag team. I'm glad he was not here last night, because some important things became more difficult for her, and she struggled. A man across the hall died, and his wife keened through the night, relatives joining with her at first but dispersing to grieve in their own ways in the many nooks designed for that here at this hospice. They were the muffled sounds you might mistake for a violent argument. They were her argument against her beloved being taken too soon...always too soon. Goodbye, goodbye...

No, I will not say goodbye, said her wordless wails.

I'm caught in the uncomfortable place of unwitting passerby. I sit and listen, and try not to hear the details. This place is a keeper of hallowed secrets.

We are not sure when our turn will come. How will we grieve? How will I help my husband at that time?

How do people without companions pass away without someone to protest?

Breathe, pause, breathe.

Too long a pause, breathe again.

Our moments are ordinary, and are too soon gone. We will gather these moments as talismen to hold in days of argument and acceptance.

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I will be away from the blog during a good bit of this time. I have read the wonderful comments of my friends here, and am so blessed by your friendship and encouragement...thank you for sharing so many of your own perspectives and moments with me, your kinship. I love you all dearly!

Robbyn

11 comments:

Gina said...

Lots of hugs to you and your husband and MIL

It is very, very difficult watching someone you love leave the life you share.

My thoughts are with you.

farm mom said...

xoxo There's nothing I can say really. We'll be thinking about you and your wonderful husband. xoxo

Paulette said...

Robbyn, this takes me back to 4 years ago just like it was yesterday. Sitting by my father's bedside. Just waiting. Wondering what was going through his mind as his only words were an occasional weak "home" as he reached up toward the heavens with outstretched arms.

You will know what to do. God does that for us.

My thoughts are with you.
Paulette

MeadowLark said...

Peace to you.

Nola said...

From my own experience with my Mama when she died, let me say: It is never what you expected. You can't foresee, or predict what will happen or how you will react. It will just happen, and you will just "BE", something inside kicks in and you are on auto-pilot. Things progress, and gradually you get through it.
I had prepared myself (or so I thought), but when she died, everything happened, and none of it like I planned. Just know you will get through it, and she will be in a better place, and free of pain when she "goes on to her reward".
Try and rest when you can, the exhaustion is what hurt the most for me. Take care...

Brenda Kula said...

That was so beautifully and eloquently written. Heartfelt, simple words that spoke to my heart. I am so sorry. An inevitable time in life that never gets any easier. Write, and write some more. It will help lead you through this, and you will have transmitted your emotions onto paper for later.
xoxo, Brenda

Country Girl said...

Our thoughts are with your family.

Stephanie said...

thinking of you...

Maria said...

So many hugs and much love to you!

Nita said...

My thoughts are with you, I loved your story of your MIL's perserverance throughout her life. She has to be comforted knowing how much you care and that she is leaving her son with you. Take care, this is a difficult time - for all.

Nola @ AlamoNorth said...

Hi, I know you've got a lot going on, but I just wanted to let you know I'm passing the Twinks Bank Blogging Friend award on to you; check out my blog Wednesday for the details.
If you don't have time, or don't feel like doing it, it's ok, I know right now there's a lot going on. I just wanted you to know you have friends out here in blogland!