Friday, September 26, 2008

in room 18

today is fairly cloudy here in israel, unlike yesterday which was
gorgeous and sunny. not that it matters what the weather is like, it's
all irrelevant when seen through a window in a hospital room.

writing helps me through emotional times, so i'm sorry if anyone finds
this inappropriate or upsetting. don't read it if that's how you feel.

it's been a while since i've been around anyone who was sick.
...."sick". no, that's not right. that's my way of softening the truth.
it's been a while since i've been around anyone who was dying. and i
don't think i've seen anyone like this.

he shakes a lot, drifting in and out of consciousness. he speaks very
little, only a handful of words a day. when we arrived he definitely
knew us, although there have been other times when i didn't see that
flicker of recognition in his eyes. his hands are constantly moving,
tugging at the sheets or miming some imagined activities. some of these
gestures we can't identify, most of them we can. he'll be pointing, or
kissing his tallit (or other jewish ritual)... or having a cigarette.
that's the worst. dying of lung cancer, and his hands are still going
through the motions of smoking.

we had some excitement just a moment ago. he sat up, eyes totally
alert, and with our help, he stood up! his eyes lit up, he was with us,
really with us. but he's tired out now. so he lays back, holding my
mom's hand to stop him from shaking as she hums a soothing tune, and we
return to our chairs and our books.

this is sad, and disturbing, and i don't know how my mom copes. i've
only been here for two days and i feel this heaviness all around,
crushing down on me, my heart pounding and my blood rushing. sometimes
it's overwhelming and i want to escape outside. but i don't. this is no
time to be selfish. this is no time to avoid that which is upsetting.
this is when we must be strong. if he reaches out, we will be there to
offer a hand.


Byllie said...

im sorry i have been away for so long...... many times i have wanted to sit down at the computer JUST so that i could check in on your know i love your writing. 
i know what you are going through. i know the grim helpless feeling of having no control over what is going on right before your very eyes.  cancer is a terrible beast....not even kind enough to kill its victims quickly. instead, slowly eating away at them inch by inch - chiselling away until what is left appears to be no more than skin on a boney skeleton. 
it doesnt feel as if it has been 3 years since i was sitting in my mom\'s hospital room, chair pulled as close to her bed as possible, holding her hand just to feel her soft skin.....scared to let go.....never knowing if this would be the day.  i still cant believe that within 4 months the cancer had taken this once beautiful and vibrant woman, with sparkling, kind eyes and playful smile - and left behind only a shriveled, sunken, gray tiny and frail, unable or unwilling to open her eyes because they could no longer see........but the one thing it wasnt able to consume was her spirit and presence.  never once, during this deterioration, did she ever complain or ask for anything.  i soon understood why she wouldnt open her eyes was much easier to accept and picture what she could envision with her eyes closed than it was to accept the fear and doom of the darkness surrounding her with her eyes open.  
my mom always set an ideal example of what we, as human beings, should strive to be like.  i learned more about myself, just from watching her and observing her interactions, than i did about simple manners and behavior.  i know that it was harder, and more painful for her to know that watching her die was agonizing for us, than the actual physical pain that she was in....we all knew that my mother would willfully and willingly take over any pain that any of us ever felt if she could....she would gladly sacrifice a limb, or an organ, or her own life if she had to, in order to protect any one of us.  the situation was nearly impossible to accept or cope with. so, i, once again, followed my mothers example and simply closed my eyes. i pulled my chair as close as i could, i held her hand, put my head on her bed and just closed my eyes.  that way, when she did speak, i still saw her sparkling eyes and dark hair and lovely pink cheeks. 
i agree that it is never pleasant to deal with or speak about death.....but it is always better to express what you are feeling to be able to understand what you are feeling and find a way to sort through the emotions and cope.  you did that beautifully. 
be strong, for now it doesnt get is going to get much harder first.  strangely, with the greatest loss comes some relief. 
im thinking of you and i am sending love for you.  take care....i am so sorry you have to experience this loss.  xox

Laoch said...

Good wishes to you and your family

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