Friday, December 31, 2010

angles on earth

The next time someone asks if you would like a cup of coffee think twice before you refuse. They just might be an angel on earth.

Clayton had just started kindergarten in the afternoon. There was a Dad at the bus stop who waited for his son who went in the morning. David worked in Boston and his wife was a waitress.  One afternoon we went to the bus stop and David wasn't there.... I thought his son, Derek, was ill and didn't go to school that day. But no Derek gets off the bus looking for his Dad. The bus driver left Derek in my care and we walked up the hill to his house. He was full of nervous chatter wondering what was wrong and why his dad didn't meet the bus. As we rounded the corner we saw a pair of legs sticking out from under a car. David had lost track of time trying to get the car fixed. From behind me I hear hi I'm Laureen, would you like a cup of coffee. Thankfully I said yes. A truer friend I could not have asked for.

All through the years she has been there. When my mother died she was there, when we were caring for my father, she was there. All through Gee's cancer fight she was there. Sometimes just an ear, sometimes a shoulder, but always there. She sat with Gee when I would get Rachel at school. She would help to clean his body when it was to much for him to help. She was there to hold my hand when they took him away from us. Ever present ever faithful and angel on earth.

The Old Soldier really does die

So many think I had done something wonderful.....taking care of Gee at home during his last fight with cancer. Wasn't much of a fight, came home from the Highlands, a rehab center in November and he was gone December 18th. He had decided many weeks before that last appointment with Dr Piperdi he would do no more treatments. He was so weak he had to go to the appointment by ambulance. They all came to say good bye, we all knew it was his last time at the clinic. He was transferring into Hospice.

He was so happy to be home, even ate better for a few days. His sister came from Cleveland to care for him....but he wanted me, let Robin get that....I worked a couple of weeks when he first came home, however it became apparent rather quickly that Ruth and Saul, although very willing, weren't up for the task of his care, and again they weren't me. So I took Family Leave and stayed home.

The routine was the same everyday, cook breakfast, was him up, watch the Judge shows and the price is right. Soon he was sleeping more. If he wasn't sleeping he would lay with his eyes closed. He started taking pain meds more regularly.

His daughters came the first week in December. They came in on a Saturday and he was still talking some. He was eating a bit but not much. They left on Wednesday and he wasn't eating barely talking and   having more pain. We start giving him morphine pills, time released and more effective.

Sonny came on December 14th. Rachel finished the semester and was home. Gee was no longer talking or eating. Drinking very little fluids. A skeleton with skin was all that the cancer had left us. He was on liquid morphine now, he couldn't take the pills any more.

Sonny left on Friday morning. He wanted to stay knowing it would end soon but couldn't bare the thought of watching his father being taken out of the house in a body bag. I slept in the chair in the living room like I had done every night for the past two weeks. I awoke to see Gee gasping for breath....I thought he looked like a fish out of water gulping for air. I gave him his morphine and the haldal  and stroked his hair, telling him we would be okay, he could relax and I knew he had to leave us....his eyes opened and he looked right at me and in an instant he was gone.

Gee's pain was over, he fought so long and so hard. He wished to live long enough to see Rachel in college and he did.

 My pain has just begun. I have never been alone. I have always had someone who took care of me. I never had to worry how I was going to pay the bills, what tomorrow was going to bring, there was always Gee. For 34 years  Gee was there so nothing could hurt us. Now he's gone. Now there is only me....