Life and Death

Last Wednesday, Steve's uncle was rushed from his home 75 miles away to the hospital beside our house.
He was very sick.
Uncle Ted, is was the husband of my father-in-law's sister.
Steve had a good relationship with him, because they had hunted together for years.

The moment we got to the hospital, I was surprised to see that Uncle Ted was communicative and alert.

I knew he was critically ill, and because I did not want to waste any time,  I quickly reminded Uncle Ted about one of my favorite "hunting" stories that included him.

I was not close to him, but that little bit of time I spent with him, I loved.

On Thursday, Uncle Ted was still able to interact.
He even seemed sad when Steve and K left him that Thursday night.
When Friday came, Uncle Ted took a sudden turn and had to be put on a ventilator.

Of all days, that Friday, Steve was having a very long and difficult day at work at another hospital 25 miles away.

I already mentioned that I did not know Uncle Ted well, yet his illness and rapid decline had me in turmoil.
I found myself testing the waters--as to whether I could really believe what I just read recently, that death is a "transformation to a freer life."
Although I found comfort in discovering that Uncle Ted was a man of great faith, confident to face his Creator, it was still not easy to see how painful this whole experience was for his family.
The sudden downward spiral, drew more family from far away to come and see him.
I insisted that our home be their home base due to its convenient location to the hospital.
I did not really know Uncle Ted's family yet somehow we were suddenly made close by the circumstance of impending death.

Preparing our home and bathrooms for seven guests, turned out to be occupational therapy for me as I   made the executive decision (Steve still unreachable due to work emergency) to allow K to go out and ride in a car with a newish-driver-who-is-a-newish-boyfriend.
I also gave permission for G to go skiing with a friend 60 miles away.
Both K and G stayed alive and well.

Saturday was a day.
Uncle Ted's family included us in a meeting about palliative care, comfort measures and when to remove life support. I had nothing but tears to contribute to the discussion.
When we left them that afternoon, I thought that they were going to wait 24 hours before taking action.
I tried to have a glass of wine at home but could not really swallow it.
I knew that I was trying to numb my heavy heart.
So instead of drinking the wine,  I took a two hour nap.
Sleep always makes everything better.
At 5 PM,  I woke from my nap and went with DZ for a 30 minute run.
Just as I was starting to feel less depressed about the day, I found out that Uncle Ted died at 6 pm.

My house guests came to pack up and collect their belongings.
They were not going to need to stay any longer.
Uncle Ted's son, Doug described the scene to me.
He said his brother-law-law Bob was reading from the book of Psalms, while every one else gathered around Uncle Ted, praying and holding him as he "jouneyed."
The whole process took two hours.
That, to me, is what I consider to be a beautiful liberation into a freer life.

Steve and I went out for dinner with DZ/GZ, where I had not one, not two, but three Mojitos.
In a day cloaked in sadness--it was weird to be enjoying a Tijuana hotdog in a bar, while the last thing on the mind of Uncle Ted's wife of 60 years was food.
I felt very compartmentalized.
Life and death kept separate:
Supporting a bereaved family, while still making parenting decisions...
(Can G's friends sleep over? Yes)
Experiencing grief in real time,  touched raw nerves from my own past experiences with the death of loved ones.
Yet this experience truly brought me much more closer to understanding the importance of freeing a soul to soar, unfettered by medical technology or our human desires.

Today is Monday. We will drive to attend the viewing 75 miles away.

At 7:30 this morning I got a flat tire on my way to drop K off at school.
I pulled over to the side of the road, and K proceeded to walk the rest of the way, while I walked to make a roadside assistance call from home.
I did not have my cell phone with me.
As I was walking home I remembered to say a prayer of thanks for all the blessings the flat tire had reminded me of.
1. I was happy that I threw pants on today, as sometimes I drive K to school with just a big coat and my sleeping shirt.
2. I am glad the flat did not occur in the middle of nowhere on the way to the viewing this evening.

My mind focused on not getting derailed by a flat tire.
I recognized that this was nothing in the big scheme of things.
Steve's relatives are right now dealing with their  loss, and the logistics of today and
his funeral tomorrow.
I got back to my house this morning in time to make sure that G got on the school bus and proceeded with my hour of prayer.
I asked very simply for assistance with the car--and that God would order my steps for today.

My car is back in my driveway. I am grateful.
By 9:35 AM I was back on track.

Uncle Ted's birthday is on Wednesday.
He would have been 82.
While I know that his family is grieving his death, I can't help but believe with all my heart that his 82nd birthday is actually going to be the best one yet.
He is right on track.
After all,  there is no place like home.

(And now I shall exercise with JB)