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.


Ms. Moon said...

This is one of the ways that dying reminds me of labor. How many times have I myself been in labor and thought, "God, just please- what can I do to make this baby come?" or been with women whose labors had stalled for one reason or another and almost always, there may be no apparent reason for delay but then something happens and all the forces come together so that the labor is fulfilled.
The human body is incredibly strong and it wants to live. I think that's a big part of it. You have done everything right and will continue to do so.
Things will happen of their determination and the curtain will part which parted when he was born and it will allow him to slip back from whence he came.
I have seen this and felt it from both ends. It is as true as the tides.

ain't for city gals said...

thinking of all of you today...

Elizabeth said...

Sending love and breath -- the in and the out.

Mel said...

Thinking of you today too. It is a mystery, how life and how death works.

It is good, all the things you have done and said, it is beautiful, all the love and care. It is almost time.

I would love to know the rest of the lyrics to Dan's song, and would really love to hear the music the words pair with.


Anonymous said...

It is just as important to give him pemission to stay as to give him permission to leave. Not that he needs permission, obviously. If you have ever stood at the end of the dock or diving board savouring the moment before you jump you will get a sense of what he is experiencing. And what he is teaching in these final moments.

37paddington said...

He does not want to leave you yet.

Alberta Art Classes said...

Blessings on all of your tender hearts. He loves you...