27 March 2007

Hospice

We've transitioned, The Ancestor and I. Today we met our new nurse. Today we gained a social worker of our very own. Today the promise of Mary the Chaplain was quietly spoken. Today I signed papers of change. Today the word "comfortable" took on a strangely uncomfortable tone. Today my gran cried just a little, and a grief welled up in my throat. Today was the first day of the rest of her life.

Tonight I was grateful to have the brief respite of an evening spent with bright, intelligent, good young women. Three teens and three leaders hosted a lovely dinner of appreciation for our recently-called bishopric and their wives. We folded my vintage linen napkins into soft sculpture cootie catchers, centered them on dinner plates, and topped them with salad bowls full of weedy, celebratory greens and reds. We snitched almonds. We dropped raspberries into water glasses. We tied tablecloth knots. We laughed and set up chairs and warmed lasagnas and picked out the best plates in the cupboards and ogled the cheesecake and shooed away the perpetually hungry Scouts who meet in the church building at the same hour we do. When the soirée commenced a couple of us (not I, said the shaky alto) performed dinner music for the honored guests. At one point in the evening, I think it was while Jenny was playing her Enya piano solo, I felt incredibly moved by the atmosphere in the room. Hey, this is Zion, I thought. This is it. There was such a sense of contentment, and I mean that in the very best sense imaginable. It was a rare feeling of everyone being at peace together, just full of acceptance. It shone, that moment, and what a pretty light it was. I'm thankful my dark corners got a chance to enjoy some refreshing sunshine tonight . . . thankful I get to be this kind of busy now and then.

14 comments:

compulsive writer said...

Glad you got a little sunshine.

And I'm sorry. I know about hospice.

Hugs!

Elizabeth said...

I loved your description of the dinner preparations...raspberries in glasses, salads and REAL napkins. Lovely. Just lovely. I hope the hospice ends up bringing blessings in tow. For all of you.

ash said...

Love your blog, and love your gran even though we haven't met. Good luck with the tough decisions that lie ahead.

Stacie said...

good luck in your time of change, you have been a good nurse! sounds like a lovely dinner too...

Becca said...

does this mean you have a live-in nurse or a daily attendant?

Casee said...

Great post, very touching. You don't know me, but I found your blog from my dear friend Elizabeth. Good luck!

Geo said...

c-dub: They are sunny girls, at least they were last night. All were in such high spirits, even our generally stonefaced Kim.

You give good hugs.

elizabeth: We at the lowly servants' table used 1-ply paper napkins with green and red candy canes, but we still had raspberries in our water and we still had a great time.

We've been blessed all along, and I hope and expect that will continue true . . . .

ash: Hey! Hi! Welcome! Thank you for introducing yourself and leaving kind words. Your photo is just beautiful!

stacie: I joke around with my husband that my name is Nurse Goodbody. At least I don't think I'm Florence Nightingale. I gave my first shot on Monday—don't think I'm quite cut out for a bonafide medical career.

becca: So far, it doesn't mean anything different, practically speaking. A (different) nurse checks in three times a week. An aide comes by to help bathe her three times a week. All else is business as usual. Hospice will pick up the tab for anything related to her "comfort" and is medically on-call for us 24/7. I'm still on my own with her the rest of the time. But as things change, I suppose other resources will be more easily accessible. I'm still learning about what it will mean for us. I only know about hospice in a terminal illness sort of setting, where death is almost on the calendar already. So, we'll see.

casee: Glad you're here! I've seen your loving comments on Liz's blog many times. Thanks for delurking!

pflower10 said...

WOW GEO!! You have a beautiful way with your words. You can take an emotional time and make it so...so....well, beautiful. I'm sorry that this is the first day of the rest of her life, for you. You are an angel!

Jamie said...

Georgia, I was thinking about you and what to do for your upcoming birthday and all the things I love about you and how you have handled this side of life so many times and so well...it's mind-boggling. By this side of life, I mean the opposite end from where I do my daily work, the beginning end, which I suppose is much like the end-end as far as demands go. I wonder if I could ever handle giving a shot (for some irrational reason I am sooo not a needles person, and my Bubby gets his shots tomorrow and I tear up just thinking of it!). Anyway, your spirit has been through things I may never even experience in this life because God knows our limits and I couldn't do it, and I just admire you from way down deep. And I also want you to know that I know how healing those Young Women can be. One instance comes to mind--a few days after I miscarried, I had to teach my last presidency lesson and I used Elder Holland's Oct. 2005 talk about Young Women and self-respect. The love in that talk, the love in their eyes, their response to my testimony made the spirit flow through my veins almost...I could feel it like a life line and I will always love them for that (and all the other similar moments).

I reeeeeally miss you. I will keep you and Gran in my prayers and come see you when I am in town 4/18-20. Hugs...

Geo said...

pflower10: Thank you!! But I must confess, I am only an angel of irony. That's far below the rank of angel of mercy, but it suits me just fine.

jamie: Golly, after reading your comment late last night, I went to sleep sort of tallying up my dances with death and felt freshly shocked by the total. Why? It's not like I don't think of those encounters often. It's not like I haven't counted them up before and wondered at the number. I guess last night all of a sudden I thought I recognized some kind of a role or a mission that I hadn't consciously acknowledged before—just a flash of a question mark. Maybe I'm dreaming it. Anyway, I also briefly recognized the "freak factor" in being the one standing by so often, and saw that these sorts of experiences set me—and would set anyone— apart in ways. Not superior ways—but they do alter a person.

Anyhow, enough of that. Let's talk about life. I'm about to turn another prime number—that's my favorite, the indivisible kind! I hope I will be indivisible this year.

And you, James, you are all about life—living it, producing it, documenting it, sharing it, rejoicing over it. I am glad to know you. I think you are beautiful.

liz said...

well said.

i have missed your writing. it's nice to have it back with the joy of spring! ;-)

Jamie said...

Georgia-- kay, first, I love you and your message is so appreciated.

second--I think it's cool that you went to bed thinking about my comment and it made you recognize your mission because I have been thinking about that for a long time. I had the hardest time with your not having babies, especially when I started having mine, and I would have to remind myself of the things that God needs you to do that the average janes can't do, especially with babes in arms. It's no consolation, and maybe the two things are onyl related in my loopy mind, but to me you are sort of a ministering angel in this life and I can't think of anyone better experienced to walk me to Heaven's gate (I mean, if I were going there, which I hope I am NOT anytime soon...I'm just sayin'). --XOXOXO---

PS: hear, hear! may you be indivisible!

b. said...

I pray that hospice will give you a little respite from the loving care you are giving Ancestor. The decision is not an easy one, I admire your courage-hers and yours.
For the many hours you light up the dark corners....I'm glad you were on the receiving end for a change.

Geo said...

liz: Yeah, I croak with the crocuses. Just wait'll the tulips bloom!

jamie: So, what you're really saying is that I'll be at heaven's gate before you?? Hey, now.

Truth be told, this whole "mission" idea HAS occurred to me a number of times. It's just that sometimes an idea hits you with terrific emphasis, you know? It's like a voice answers your quiet wondering with a "NO, REALLY. You ARE actually on to something here."

Anyhow. I don't buy into that (admittedly sweet and generous) idea that I'm doing something that others couldn't do. I'm just doing, same as you. We all get to support and sometimes carry others throughout our lives, unless we just plain refuse. We all receive opportunities to be ministering angels. I hope sometime while I'm on the planet I'll get to add actual mothering to my resumé. Guess we'll see.

b.: Here's a kiss on your nose!