The Final Steps
Simon is reaching the end of his journey. The miracles came in many forms, just not healing. Yesterday, he was assigned a nurse that had never worked on that floor before. She had lost her husband from the same cancer a year ago and was a source of comfort. His Hospitalist and Oncologist had both wanted to recommend hospice weeks ago but individually wanted to try any last ditch efforts for quality of life. Simon has been in surprisingly good spirits almost daily as his body continues to give up on him. We are so appreciative of so many things. Many close friends and family were able to come in the brief time since diagnosis to make him smile and reminiscence. Simon said he achieved everything in life he had hoped for, he just wished he would have had more time. He is relieved that he is reaching an end point of this earthly journey and is beyond confident of his destination – to be home with Jesus.
We told our son exactly what was happening. He cried and then pulled himself together. He said he wanted to be brave for Dad. He went in the hospital room to say his goodbyes. After a few minutes, he was ready to play Angry Birds on my iPhone like a seven year old does. God bless the little ones for their innocence and resilience. Our middle daughter was told Dad won’t get better. We won’t use the word death until it happens. She thinks in the moment and doesn’t understand things happening in the future. Our youngest is oblivious but we have been taking her to visit. She may have faint memories. I have memories at age three of visiting my premature sister in the hospital.
The hospital granted our request to moved back to the oncology floor. The nurses there get it. The vibe is more peaceful and the care is more appropriate. A transporter came and let me have my final “walk” with Simon to the new room on the other side of the building. Simon smiled at me in the elevator and we traveled the long hallway together in silence as I gave him occasional ice chips. I hated every second that passed but wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. It was sacred time.
We put pictures up of our family in his hospital room. He has the option to come home but seems to feel more secure in the dim, quiet space with familiar staff that can help with pain or positioning at a moment’s notice. We are still making decisions about hospice, the whens and wheres. Simon has asked for no visitors beyond family at this time. He has read or heard every single message, blog comment, card, and email. He loves you all so much. We love him back.
In the stillness of his room this morning, with a few good hours of alertness after a round of steroids, we asked him a few questions that a dear friend had sent. His answers clearly started out sarcastic but ended on a reflective, sincere note.
What is your favorite word? I have no idea
What is your least favorite word? Pass
What turns you on? My wife
What turns you off? My wife
What sound or noise do you love? A snoring dog
What sound or noise do you hate? When I’m trying to go to sleep and I can only hear my heartbeat
What is your favorite curse word? Sh*thead
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Maybe a missionary, a tour guide, a counselor, soup kitchen manager for homeless
What profession would you not like to do? Nail salon. It stinks in there. I would get migraines every day.
What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? I love you. Take a rest. Enjoy My house. Welcome home.