Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another Day

I'm back at the residential hospice with bink and her dying father this morning.
bink, Maura, and I went home last night. bink was unsure if she should stay, but her father had actually taken a tiny turn for the better, seemingly rising from the dead and asking for pop.

It's not like he's going to get better though.
The nurse said some people's decline is like a roller coaster, and that's what we're seeing here.
It's tiring.
Have you seen David Bowie's song "Lazarus", made while he was ill with the liver cancer he died of two days ago? 
It's here on youtube.

From article, "Bowie's ...Collaborators Discuss His Final Works":
In the 18 months following his cancer diagnosis, David Bowie, who passed away on Sunday [January 10, 2016], embarked on several projects that he pursued until the end of his life.
Despite his illness, Bowie would spent five hours a day in the studio before crossing town to oversee Lazarus rehearsals. Tim Lefebvre, the quartet's bassist, said, "I don’t know where he found the strength. It’s amazing. ... It never looked to us like he was sick. He was just coming in and singing his ass off."
Sometimes things do get better, and the way of dying in America, after a long period when we handled it poorly, is an example of actual improvement, at least in some places.

This hospice is amazingly great---I wouldn't mind spending my last days here. (In fact, it's nicer than where I live.)

It's only four years old, and it was well designed with the needs of visitors in mind:
there's a guest shower room, for instance,--complete with shampoo and body lotion; 

there are lots of small, semi-private spaces, like the table I'm sitting at right now; 
outside are little pockets of garden and a walking path (though sadly, after a warm December, this January morning it's –4°F but with windchill "feels like –24º").

And this place is free for those like bink's dad who have nothing. It doesn't charge a thing for the expenses insurance doesn't cover (room and board, I guess), but relies on donations.
The only downside is, you have to die within three weeks, and if you don't, you have to move.
bink's dad is taking his time, but the staff isn't bothering to look for a place he can move to in 17 days time. 
A Poem I Choose for This Morning
 "Once More, the Round"
––by Theodore Roethke

What's greater, Pebble or Pond?
What can be known? The Unknown.
My true self runs toward a Hill
More! O More! visible.
Now I adore my life
With the Bird, the abiding Leaf,
With the Fish, the questing Snail,
And the Eye altering All;
And I dance with William Blake
For love, for Love's sake;
And everything comes to One,
As we dance on, dance on, dance on.


From 57 woodcuts illustrating the Dance of Death, (Death, here, coming for "The Noble Lady", c. 1525), woodcut by Han Holbein the Younger [via]


Zhoen said...

"Nobody is really dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away."
-T Pratchett.

Fresca said...

Lord help us... That sounds like a curse.
I suppose it's true, it's just that some people leave such awful ripples.
Let us say,
the ripple may continue, but we can move to another pond.

Zhoen said...

Well, I do have to keep reminding myself that my father is dead, when I start getting myself riled up.