Thursday, June 5, 2014
This Morning (again)
Calm and gray. The mirror of water outside the window just beginning to ripple. We sit on the couch (Dan's daughter, his sister and I) asking ourselves why he is hanging on. There has been no change in Dan's condition in the last 24 hours. The nurse asks us if we have had "the talk" with him. We have. Go, we've said. Separately, we've said it. And together. His daughter and I stood on either side of him yesterday afternoon and told him we love loved each other. I will take care of Dusty, I said. I will take care of Denise, she said.We've delivered messages from others. Held the phone to his ear for a number of one-sided conversations. Read him the emails that keep filtering in from long-ago school friends. Filled the room with music from his own iPod.
In my experience, the nurse says, it's the women who hang on. Men, when they can't use power tools, are done, she says. The women want those grand babies.
We don't know what Dan wants. To say something, Dusty says. He would say the most perfect wonderful thing, we are certain, if he could talk.
I am done with questioning. Instead, I sit at the foot of his bed. I'm watching. I'm waiting. With every email, phone call, Facebook message, every old photo, every family story, the heart of this man I love grows larger even as the shell of his body grows smaller. My house hums with the fan that blows across his fevered body, the sound of his oxygen machine merging with the sound of my mother's oxygen machine, the rustle of newspaper pages being turned, the click of laptop keys. My house hums with life.
The trick is in knowing when to let it all go
hanging on til you're sick to your soul
saying yes and forever and never and no
They're just spots on the dice as they roll
---lyrics from the chorus of a song Dan wrote long before I knew him.