July 9, 2014
"They shoot horses, don't they?" The trick, I would suppose, is not to break their spirit. In any animal training, as in child rearing, the purpose is to provide structure and safe limits for the development of character. A wild creature, as a young child, can revert to nature's base behavior without a close bond to a benevolent strong spirit. I feel my own spirit weakening under the relentless assault of loss.
When I was nursing my dad in his final days, my mom, my sister and I were trying to hold him up and move him to a transfer toilet. As we moved toward the chair, which was right next to the bed, we all realized--at the same moment--that we had bitten off more than we could chew and that we were going down. It was the most awful feeling. Not only was this dear man, riddled with bone cancer, in extreme pain already, but also we were going to drop him in a heap with us on the floor and break what bones he had left and increase his pain. We looked longingly into each others' eyes, hoping against hope there would be an answer there other than the futility we each felt. Just as we lost our grip, the weight was lifted off our arms and dad was gently and seamlessly laid upon his bed. The door to the house had been locked--we thought-- and none of us had heard anything, but there she was. The hospice nurse. Exactly when we needed her. Exactly where we needed her.
I had been looking for a while for his eligibility for hospice care as I remember it fondly with my dad's care. The word alone elicited images of angels and mercy. So when the doctor's resonse was positive...that he was indeed eligible for these services, I thought I would be grateful...and I am...but "hospice". A scary, powerful word. It brought me to my knees. The healthy mind plays serious tricks on us. I suddenly, actually, realized that he was dying. Yes it was over a long course of time, but dying he was. For all my work on anger issues and acceptance, I hadn't ingested that hard truth.