Memories We Share - Part 5
battered by icy winds
tattered edges still unfurl
who can imagine him
not being in this world?
scars? well, yes
old battles won and lost
he holds on still
for my sake
but to him
what is the cost?
One day has become the next and the one previous to it. I have no use for time, it is my enemy. I only respond in minutes, sometimes even less. I have no use for clocks or schedules, only symptoms grab hold of my attention and I watch them tick … tick … tick away the time we have left together.
I must pull myself from this melancholy and put back on my face that has a smile. Now where did I put it? You are brave for me and I pretend to believe it, when all you want to do is rest. What faces will we wear when it gets really bad and you no longer can dress yourself or get up from the stool, when your arms will no longer support the weight of the razor so you can shave? Already your appetite has changed from wanting steak and eggs to a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit … it’s easier to swallow. I now prefer cigarettes and coffee or cigarettes and tea or cigarettes.
You fell yesterday and I, not fifteen feet from you, was too slow to buffer you from hitting the floor. You show no outward injury but the look in your eyes told me where the real pain struck.
You said to me last night that you didn’t think this Celebration of Life party we are planning will happen, none of your old friends will come. It is the only thing that put the spark back in your eyes when we made out a list and all I can do is sit by and listen to a silent phone, calls not returned and watch the energy leave you again. It’s the Holiday, I remind you, people are busy … they will get in touch.
“We’re grilling out”, says my son, “and watching the Fourth of July parade, you’re welcome to join us.” Are we? Thank-you. Instead, could you spare half an hour and bring our Granddaughter here. Or did you miss the oxygen tanks, lift chair, shower chair and twenty bottles of pills that makes us joining a crowd at your house a bit tiring? We need to get out, he says? Yes, that would be nice … if the pain would have subsided long enough for either of us to have slept more than two hours at a time. There isn’t supposed to be any pain. Hospice promised you would have adequate medication to stop the pain and you won’t call or let me call because the neon orange sign they gave us to hang that has their phone number on it says “for emergencies” and you’re not sure your pain is one.
He tries, my son, he will probably even bring by a plate of food later that you can’t eat because you can’t chew swallow and breath very well and I can’t eat because my heart attack restrictions call for a low sodium, low cholesterol, low calorie, low taste appeal diet. I want to see our granddaughter hugging her PaPa and feel her sweet sticky kisses on my face. Now that would be a banquet! And for desert, a new picture drawn or painted for our refrigerator or a song sung as off key as when you sing along with Willie Nelson.
You are nodding off and I need to. I miss our bed and you lying next to me. Such simple, wonderful pleasures we take for granted. And even this, what we have now … how many would give everything they own to have it? More time with their loved ones, even if the quality of the time has shifted to a different value, one that is bittersweet. I’m sure there are countless thousands who would step into our shoes in a flat minute. Oh … there’s my face with the smile and I need to take out some gratitude too. I’ll have them ready when you awake from your nap. Sweet dreams now my love, rest and wake again.