Friday, September 10, 2010

And then the end

The last month has been one of continual anxiety. Bob would eat a bit one day then he gave up the next to even drink water.
This went back and forth. Then he was not able to walk anymore or did not even try. Sabrina slept with her phone next to her, I jumped with every bark of the 3 dogs. Sabrina was to be alerted if anything was happening. She would come and tell me.

We were all on pins and needles hoping Bob would be able to make the transition in comfort, hoping he could leave his world of unknowns.
Yet, every time I saw him I did not want him to go. It is so hard to see him like that and yet selfishly wanting to continue t hold his hands and kiss him even when he is not aware of it ( as we think we know).
Months ago I had planned a trip to my friends house in the Berkshires. She is 80 and we have known each other for 53 years. We are more than sisters.

Sabrina had a long week end for labor day so we decided that would be the best time to go. I can't travel alone anymore, I hear very little even with a hearing aid and when I am stressed the hearing shuts down altogether.

Then came a call that perhaps we should hire Hospice to help at the nursing center. We three Kensinger women went to sign him up.
It was August 31. The nurse said that
he could last 2 days but also 2 weeks since he still did not show any signs besides losing the weight.
There we sat all of us at the table trying to know that this was real.

He had almost died in March at the Va hospital. Then he did not want to eat at one nursing center. Then he ate. Then he picked up and walked halls like a runner in Golden Living. Then he would start resting and did not look good and I cried my eyes out and thought I would never see him again. The nurse came in and said : Honey right now he is healthier than I am. He has a very strong heart. I did not believe her but the next day he is up and running again.
They loved him there, he kissed the old ladies hands and teased the young nurses.

So, was this for real? A Hospice nurse does what? we asked. We tried to swallow all that info. Then I asked my question which had kept me awake many night before:
Can we go on this trip, will he last over the week end? No one could answer that with any certainty.
At the end the answer had to come from me.
I had been there for him until I broke my ankle, I never wanted him in a nursing home but my injury forced us.
I did not want him to die alone but then how could I and the girls keep vigil all the time?
I asked Rhonda is she could take over for the week end. It would be an honor she said. And that she did.
Sabrina and I left for Mass. I had said goodbye again but I knew it might be the last time.
When you take care of someone for 13 years y9ou say goodbye when they forget who the dog is. When they forget how to open a door, when they forget how to wash and then slap you when you want to wash him. I said goodbye a thousand times, he did not know the grandkids, hated them, did not know his own kids, then did not know me.
Did not remember his mother, his sibblings. Did not know what snow was.
When all this vanishes day by day I said "goodbye Bob, my man is no longer here, a stranger is taking over the body of my best friend".

I decided to leave with Sabrina and Rhonda took up vigil for 3 nights and days, she was holding his hands when he left. She had candles in the room, had played operas, Christmas music, and read to his unconscious body.
The hospice nurse told hr it looked like a regular house room in there.
Rhonda said I forgot the rug. She also had his paintings and all our photos on the wall.
He had pointed to my photo early in the week, now he was asleep.

Bob's wishes as are mine, was to have a cremation and then scatter him in the mountains.
Then we had calls from the Western branch of Kensingers, they suggested a military funeral....say what? Bob was so anti military and had left the service
in 1945. His brother Earl should have had a glorious sent off as he was a war hero, he was a marauder. To my recollection he did not get that.

Needless to say I was a sudden vilain for leaving my husband. Did anybody every ask me if I needed help? did anyone come to see him in the 13 years? So why give me grief now?

His wishes are being done. Basta.

I have known that man for 42 years, we worked 24/7 together. We knew each other like we were having one vein running through both our bodies. We were one. Good times and bad times, we were one. We struggled together, we had fun together, we loved the kids together and the grandkids.

Well I am getting angry at the things said to us so I am going to close this blog for today, I am not yet finished with his life. Honors will come to him with a one man show and then we can again celebrate his life.

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