On my way to San Diego, train
was delayed leaving SLO, conductor said that someone (a pox on them!)
had pulled the emergency brake so the train had to be checked out. So
here I am, missing Scott whom I didn't appreciate enough while he was
around, wish I had. I always saw myself as ripped off, saw him as undeserving
of me, and now that he's gone, guess what. I wish he were here. But not
as he descended into disability and death. I wish he were here as he was
ten years ago, bopping around like a bunny rabbit. Go in peace, Scott.
Alone now. Alone. Takes time for it to sink in. For a few days after his
passing, I looked in his room to check up on him. I momentarily fretted
when out, am I taking too long, will he be OK, has he had his shower?
Met with Mark the chaplain yesterday. Long chat, lots of laughter, but
also recounting their talks together for nine months. Mark said he'd gotten
really attached to us, that it's one of the pitfalls of doing this service,
the fact that it comes to an abrupt end when people pass away. More so
with Scott, who was at death's door back in February and went on to live
for another eight months. Hospice clients usually die soon after Hospice
is called. Of course, Sarah passed away as the intake nurse sat in the
dining room filling out paperwork. That was a REALLY short service.
I am surprised at how little there is to do now. Nary a load of wash,
a dishwasher load once a week, sip a leisure cup of coffee in the morning,
no fielding of phone calls and scheduling of aides. I miss Hospice, though.
They were around all the time, now they vaporized as if sucked up by a
Kansas twister. Miss Stella especially, and Bianca the nurse, and Mark
the chaplain. I still want to keep my cell phone, will piggyback on Carol's
Verizon and save some 60 bucks a month. The reason for a cell phone was,
originally, to round up Scott at Costco. He had a way of disappearing,
was usually found at the book displays, but not always. I got really sick
of chasing after him.
Met with the attorney yesterday, or Stephen Hall's assistant who lives
a few blocks from my house. My house. Got to get used to calling it that.
I resented how Scott called the Sequoia place "our" house, when
it was all my investment. He also took full credit for my computer help
such as working on Response Guide graphics, making PDFs, etc.--how dare
he? Now it all seems so petty. If I was going to feel used and abused,
I should have called it quits way sooner.
Sarah was so worried about what would happen to Scott in his old age with
no children and no bloodline. Little did she know. Or does she? Sarah,
I took care of your boy to his last breath. He was OK, really, and your
worry about my being older and dying before him was pure waste. There's
no way that the kids, or at least Eric, would abandon Scott if it came
Approaching Irvine now, on our way to San Diego. I got completely mixed
up as to north/south. Feels like the shore is to my right, when it is
usually reversed as the train goes round in LA. I think I figured it out.
The train we changed to was already facing south. Gotta be.
Hard to look at the couple of photos of dead Scott in his bed. I shot
the two photos just for the record, glad I did. My mainest man is gone.
I wished and prayed for his passing, and now here it is. He had become
a burden to himself and others, what was the point. Wish I had hugged
and comforted him. But he probably didn't want that. I know he missed
cuddling with me in the queen bed, but that became impossible after Hospice
brought in the "medieval" (Chris's word) bed. Not that I would
have wanted to cuddle anyway. He'd become too aversive by then, this old
decaying guy in the back bedroom. Life had left him months before he passed.
Gosh, why is this train trip to San Diego bringing up so much stuff? But
it is what it is. I could use some happiness right now. I would like him
alive, but not as he died. I would have liked him to be as he was ten
years ago, bopping around, cooking Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of
wine on one hand and a wood stirring spoon on the other. The joking Scott
who teased me, planned numerous house remodels, packed lunch for our trips,
introduced me to fine wines (fine as of that time, my tastes have refined!).
No, it's just the weight of sadness. This is grief, and everybody must
go through it. I now understand why Mother lay down in the bed with Father,
after they found him dead and cold. She wanted to warm him up, take care
of him, breathe life back into the cells of his body. I wanted to warm
up Scott. We want to warm up those we love, those who are close. Miriam
judged Mother for laying down with the dead body, like it was a sin. What
a bitch. But how would Scott have come back, had I been able to warm him
up? As a decayed body, a ghoul, a specter? Would I really want that? No,
I think it's just the caretaking instinct, the drive to keep loved ones
warm and clean and well fed.
11.26, Wednesday, Thanksgiving
Scott passed away 1:30 pm. He
just faded out in his sleep. I had been out shopping for Thanksgiving
dinner, preoccupied with "stuff", making sure I had everything
for the dinner menu. Coming home, I checked up on Scott and the Search
and Rescue friend who had volunteered to read to him while I was gone.
I knew he had spent all night on his right side and really should be turned
over. I asked her if she could help turn him onto his other side before
she left. Yes, of course, she said. We did so, with some difficulty--he
was quite unconscious by then. If you have ever tried to move a body that
can't help out, you know how heavy it suddenly becomes. We finally managed
to move him into what looked like relative comfort, propped up with pillows.
I thanked her for the reading and the help, and walked her to the front
I felt quite tired, so after
drinking a glass of water I retreated to my bedroom for a short nap. I
woke up to an eerily silent house, so I walked into his room to see what
was up. His face looked ashen. I could feel no breath--put a mirror to
his face to see if it fogged up--and his skin was hard and cold, while
earlier on he'd been running a fever as high as 103 degrees. Still in
disbelief, I felt for a pulse, on the wrist, on the carotid artery, and
there seemed to be a faint heartbeat, or was this my own heartbeat I felt?
Deep down I knew that Scott had left his body.
The Hospice nurse came quickly
in response to my call. She checked for a heartbeat and pronouced him
dead at 1:52 pm.
mt: I feel desolate, JC dear.
jc: I will never leave you comfortless. That is my promise to you.
mt: So I must be declaring myself outside the Kingdom, outside the Father's
jc: Exactly. Why would you do a thing like that?!
mt: Because I want to make myself small and wounded.
jc: And why make yourself small and wounded?
mt: Well, JC, it's there. It's Scott's dying in the back bedroom. It's
my heavy, heavy heart.
jc: Grief is OK. It's a human emotion that signals transition into a new
stage of life.
mt: Wish I had taken Scott out to the park a few more times. He really
jc: Yes, you do wish that. And you forget the times when you did just
the right thing for him.
mt: I so want to take care of him, like he's my baby right now. I know
it hasn't been like this all the time.
jc: He did have a way of rejecting your affection. A little bit of affection
was all he could take.
mt: So . . . sigh. We so much want our loved ones to be happy and content
jc: Don't forget God's Truth: You ARE as God created you. It is fine to
have grief. You are losing your companion. This too will pass.
mt: But I must not jump into feeling happy, when I am really feeling sad
and lonely and lost.
jc: No, please don't. You know I love you. You know you are God's Beloved.
The very flowers on the path lean to salute you, the wonderful creation
of God's Heart.
mt: Sigh. Thank you, Bro.
Been quite a day, this day. Scott
developed loud hiccups (ataxia? who knows), continuing, unrelenting, unmanageable
hiccups alternating with bouts of coughing. I felt really bad for him,
because he's already so weak he can barely lift cup to lips, and yet couldn't
get any rest. Hospice prescribed Lorazepam, an antianxiety drug of the
benzodiazepine family, also used as muscle relaxant. But the pharmacy
couldn't deliver it before the evening, so the nurse fed him a crushed
tablet of Narco which I had in the fridge. Miracle! Scott stopped hiccuping
and fell asleep within 20 minutes. Still sleeping as I write, 7:30 pm.
Me? There's grief, sorrow at his suffering, busyness with his care and
conferences with caretakers. There's something about death that transcends
the daily reality, a mythical weight of might-have-beens alternating with
a profound, surprising inner push to heal him, keep him comfortable and
washed and peaceful. I feel like a tigress licking her cubs. I now understand
how Sarah kept feeding and watering Bill, her companion who took to bed
for 18 months, with nary a complaint, with infinite patience and tenderness.
Leaves fall outdoors, Scott deteriorates indoors. I feel sad to see him
this way, feeble, unable to turn over in bed, not to mention getting into
the shower. The sponge bath yesterday afternoon (thanks to a Hospice aide),
plus Tylenol which brought down the fever, really raised his spirits--an
hour later, he looked bright-eyed and sounded lucid, asked for water and
juice, cracked jokes, told me to buy a new car, my normal guy again. But
this morning old age has returned, and I feel down and sad to see him
this way. I should probably keep giving him Tylenol, what have we got
Scott has taken a turn for the worse. He developed a cough and fever five
days ago, yesterday I thought he was on the mend, but this morning the
fever went up to 102.7. I called Hospice for advice. A couple of Ibuprofen
followed by a capsule of acetaminophen brought the fever down, but meanwhile
he was totally soaked in urine--the catheter had come off-- and I couldn't
begin to move him for a change of sheets, he's a dead weight. So, bless
Hospice, they sent an aide to help with a sponge bath and change of bedding.
Happily it was the best aide, Stella. So he's now on his side and sleeping
again, after the commotion.
I asked Stella what she thought--is this the end? She said you can never
tell, that people can revive, but that he is very weak. He cannot sit
up to change his shirt, that's how bad it is. I would like to know what
the fever is all about--kidney infection? Beginning pneumonia? His urine
is cloudy and bloody, not good at all, and he's coughing, so it could
I feel grief, after putting on a brave front for so long, after even looking
forward to being on my own. It seems to soothe him when I stroke his hand
and place my open palm on his heart. There goes my man of so many years.
We've had a lot of fun together, me and my diamond in the rough. Keeping
him company as much as work allows. It is so strange to see him in this
state, he who was so proud of physical prowess and who wanted to be the
Authority, the Search and Rescue hero. He is a baby now, a large unwieldy
baby, diapers and all. What a turn of fate.
2011 Scott's balance
is increasingly difficult. I notice problems in maintaining a mind map
when he's driving--he forgets where he is going.
April 2011 Sarah dies in our house after a couple of strokes around Christmas
'10 and a partial recovery.
January '12 Trip to Kauai
April '12 Trip to visit East Coast friends, with a visit to Cuba.
August '12 Alaska cruise with Eric and kids.
October '12 Panama Canal cruise, San Diego to Miami.
March 1, 2013 Scott breaks left femur when climbing down from desk to
hang up a picture. Six-week recovery: he now wears a metal pin in his
leg. It runs from the head of the femur to 1" short of the knee.
Summer '13 We travel to Oregon on the train, to spend three days in a
Mt. Hood cabin with Matt and his family.
August 2013 Alaska cruise with visit to Denali Park. Scott uses a cane
to get around.
October 2013, 6:30 am I travel to San Diego for our granddaughter's birthday.
Alone home, Scott spins out of control when getting out of bed, slams
against the wall and fractures both bones of left wrist. Drives self to
December 2013 Driving back from Paso Robles at night, can't drive on a
straight line, keeps losing the horizon. Gives up freeway driving.
January 2014 On a referral for prostate problem, the specialist discovers
February 10 2014 In hospital for kidney biopsy.
February 10-20 Scott looks and feels very ill. Says his back hurts. I
call in a physical therapist and we lead Scott through exercises, but
he is running a low-grade fever and declining fast. He is ashen-faced,
eats nothing and drinks very little. I call Hospice in on the 20th.
February 20 Scott opens his eyes and says he wants to get well,
even as Hospice is doing an intake. His Hospice diagnosis is kidney cancer.
November 26 Scott
passes away, 1:30 pm.
Thanks for visiting!