Many people have been waiting for updates on how things are going for Jim. I have hesitated to write anything because it is such a roller coaster. By the time I write and publish something, things could be totally different. Because we have such a wonderful support structure, I do want to give the best update that I can, but know that by the time you read this, things may have changed.
When Jim came home from the hospital, the hospice staff all told us, “he won’t be with us long,” based on his condition at the time. It is something that is hard to hear, but seeing him in pain is harder yet. He has many days where he mostly just sleeps. It takes two of us to get him out of bed to use the bathroom. His body aches and his stomach hurts. However, he also has days where he is more awake and communicative. He still enjoys eating, and if you know Jim, you know that is a big deal. He has enjoyed food from some of his favorite places, including Aki, Kenzo, Five Guys, Café Del Sol and Grill Kebob. For those of you that have been following the blog for a while, he even finally got his steak from Ruth’s Chris, thanks to his sister’s willingness to drive three hours in the pouring rain to bring it to him. Several times, the hospice staff has told us that it’s probably just a matter of days. Each time, Jim has rallied back and had good days that leave us scratching our heads. I certainly am not ready to say goodbye, but I don’t want him to be in pain anymore either. I am thankful that he has had time to spend with our girls. They are all handling things in their own way, which I think is pretty normal. We pray that they will have all of the support that they need in all aspects of their lives over the coming weeks.
I am incredibly thankful for the support of our family and friends during this time. Jim’s mother has been staying with us since he got sick. My parents are here often to help. Jim’s sister has stayed with us a good bit too. My sister has taken her fair share of turns spending nights here to help out as well. Other family members have visited. Our pastors have offered support. Friends have provided meals, gift cards, warm thoughts, etc. I truly don’t know how we would manage without our support system.
So, now we wait. That’s the sad thing about hospice. No matter how great your nurses and aides are (and we have some good ones!), there is no getting away from the fact that we are always on watch for new signs of deterioration in Jim’s condition. He told me the other day that it is hard to sit in the bed and just wait to die. It is hard for those who love him to wait for that too. We all know that is what is coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Since Jim really wasn’t able to contribute to this blog post, I’m including a poem by one of his favorite poets. Thank you all for so much support!
“Now We Awaken With Memories. . .”
Now we awaken with memories,
facing that which was; whispered sweetness
which once pierced and spread through us
sits silently nearby with its hair all undone
–Rainer Maria Rilke
With Fierce Hope,