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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
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9:52 p.m. - 2014-04-08
At The Last

No idea where this will go. I have no topic sentence, no inkling of theme. Might be a quickie or might be my usual 1200+ word blurt.

My FIL is dying.

Not news to the regular readers, but now he is actively dying. FIL left the hospital 12 days ago and has been settled into the back bedroom at home. The Hospice nurses come twice a day to help but mostly it's been us. Mick and his sister and her son, Jon. And MIL of course. And me, but not as often nor consistently. Wolf hasn't been at all. Not from lack of caring, he genuinely likes Mick's father, it's me. I've kept Wolf away deliberately. Not to pretend death doesn't happen or naively shelter my kid from the reality of death but because right now Wolf is full of burgeoning LIFE. He's getting so tall! So occupied with the business of morphing into his adult self. So full of plans and hopes and ambitions. To force him to attend the bedside of a dying man is too harsh. Too quashing of the celebratory expansion of self going on with him right now. So I shuttle between them. The child striding into manhood and the old man inching into death. Neither is without his struggles and fears. A life starting. A life ending.

And I am attending both.

Today (at MIL's request via Hospice) a deacon came and administered the layperson's version of Last Rites. Oil was sanctified and put on FIL. The Bible quoted. Mick was silent but held his arms tight around me as I joined the others in The Lord's Prayer. Before I left for home to tend Wolf I sat with FIL for a while. I held his fragile hand and thanked him for Mick. I told FIL he'd done a Really Good Thing to father this man who loves me so well. Again I assured FIL that it was okay to go. No one here would be angry or resentful. And that he shouldn't be afraid. I kept my atheist views to myself and told him that no one understands life's last mystery. No one knows what comes after. He squeezed my hand and said he loved me. Asked me to keep taking care of Mick and Wolf. And MIL. He trusted me to take care of her.

Out in the living room I chatted with the others and discretely I sussed out that FIL hadn't said anything like that to them. With them he'd been all silly jokes and puns and complaints about how nobody would take him to Walmart. He'd put it on me. To care for all of them and make his death okay.

I don't mind this. It's what I'd do anyhow. Taking care of mine is the only thing I do well. Okay I can cook like a mad bastard but that's part of it- food IS life.

Just off the phone with Mick. His father is still breathing but shallowly. We are all stunned and guilty it's taken this long. We all thought the old man would be gone by now. But he loves MIL so, so, so much and is loath to leave her. She has been an uber-wife. She was barely 18 when he courted her, a 26 year old 'sophisticated' dude who'd served in the Air Force and been overseas, MIL struck him almost dumb with infatuation. She was so adorable yet strong. So cute and yet so able. And she was willing to go out on that first date! And a dozen more before she accepted his marriage proposal. To say FIL was enthralled with MIL is almost an understatement. These O'Gaelic men, wow, do they love HARD! That Mick proposed on our 3rd date and FIL held out until their 11th makes no nevermind, truth is when they find THE ONE there's no denying these O'Gaelic men.

My poor FIL! His physical body is entirely shot. Scrawny, ill-functioning, worn out. But leave his wife? The woman who's sustained and supported him, given him so much leeway, forgiven his lapses of character? It is too hard.

So his dying is slow. Agonizing. Painful. Yet inevitable. In this life NOBODY gets out alive.

Yet this afternoon as my FIL laid his charge on me to take care of his kids- Mick and SIL ... and most especially take care of his wife, well, I heard music.

It was this:

Doing my best to care for those in my charge, ~LA

11 Wanna talk about it!

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