Excerpts from my Journal During the Last Year of Dave's Life
Palliative Care: specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care
is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a
serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the
patient and the family.
From my journal:
Yesterday Dave's doctor recommended Palliative Care for him for the first time saying that, no, he will not get better, but will surely get worse and unto death, probably within two years. And this in the face of improving test results. But this time, the doctor did what I've been doing--he looked at him. Dave's test results hold but the man--the man fails.
This was my first warning. I thought I was prepared--had indeed been thinking the same thing myself--frustrated by docs who had to see it but wouldn't say it, and now one honest doc finally did say it and I couldn't breathe. A huge, screaming NO caught in my throat, like in a dream, where arms and legs flail, but we can't run.
Dave was fine, of course, smiling and nodding as if to say "What's wrong? This is next and I want it. Of course. Of course."
Today, though, I see the mercy of God in this. Only one step, one little step further down the road. The thought, not the fact. Something I can, like Mary, hold in my heart.
Two years. He is surely wrong about that, I think. Dave's hold on life is stronger than anyone, including me, can know. He has done better than anyone imagined until now and he will keep hold. He likes his life. Disease will not take it from him. God will have to be done with him.
I'm wondering whether this whole process is why I'm not content with reading the Bible these days. The Bible is about life and I live every day in the presence of impending death. The gospels, even the Old Testament, tell us how to live. I've picked up the Upanishads instead, and they help me to see the unbroken stream that connects life and what is beyond it.
It's not only Dave making this trip. I do, too. And I want to make it well. I think of Galadriel saying to Frodo, "This task was appointed to you and if you cannot find a way, no one will..."
There are times to laugh and times to mourn--and sometimes to do both simultaneously.