First lesson of impending widowhood: Never buy more groceries than you are prepared to lug into the house by yourself.
Second lesson: Never sit through a hospice presentation without a full box of Kleenex handy. I really thought I was going to be OK, but when I saw Will reading through a pamphlet called “Gone From My Sight”, that was the end of any remnant of denial, and I lost it.
This is for real. It just keeps hitting me, over and over again. I’m not dreaming it. I’m not imagining it.
Today Will’s shoulder bones are sticking out in places where they weren’t yesterday, and his face and neck are visibly thinner. He spends more time now either dozing or looking out of our big picture window than working on his models, in which he seems to be losing interest. He even told me this afternoon that the time had come for him to sell all the stuff in the Man Cave…..and that alone is an ominous sign. Only death could force Will to part with the thousands of dollars’ worth of sculptures, models, and kits he’s collected over the years.
This is it, ladies and gentlemen…..the beginning of the end.
The folks from our local hospice service were kind, as all such representatives are, but what I was hoping for did not happen. I SO wanted the nurse to say my assessment was an overreaction to the stress of being confronted with these life-altering events, but no—in fact, she agreed with me. She did not, of course, give us an estimation as to how much time is left, nor was it her place to do so; all I know is when my husband sits in a chair and lets me drag in heavy bags of groceries, the world has tilted on its axis.
I still can’t believe how fast he’s slipping away. Even as recently as last Tuesday, when we went out to see my sister, he was able to walk around the assisted living several times and even lift her big TV up on a table. Today he hasn’t been anywhere, except once to take the dog to her customary potty spot out in the south 40, and to the dining room to talk with the nurse and social worker. The rest of the day, he’s been either in the recliner or the bathroom, and each time he emerges he looks more and more drawn, as if he’s fighting a losing battle. Which, indeed, he is.
It won’t be long now. I can feel it deep in my bones, the way you just know when something either very, very good or very, very bad is about to happen. I started him on morphine a little while ago per the RN’s instructions, and I’ve cared for too many hospice patients not to know that it means we’re behind by two touchdowns in the last quarter, we just reached the two-minute warning, and it’s fourth and long.