“Get some good rest…get some good sleep… love you.”
Or maybe get some good sleep/get some good rest. I think the phrasing was often slightly variable. And it’s also killing and stirring up so much guilt that I cannot right now–absolutely–REMEMBER.
Because for ages, that was part of our nights.
I would take him a glass of iced coffee. He would grab his pills container. He’d take his meds for the night. He’d hand me the now-empty container and I’d put it back in its slot in the main organizer, and I’d pull out the next day’s one. Hand it to him, where he’d tuck it off to the side, ready for the morning.
Far too often there weren’t really many words. His hearing was so bad that I frequently lamented that I had to SHOUT. Practically SCREAM. Sometimes. For him to hear and “get” my words. (Not always. And he was pretty good about reading one’s lips…though I was more difficult for him with this beard and all).
But he’d get this look on his face–maybe a slight smile, maybe amusement, maybe…I don’t know.
And then those words.
Sometimes he’d pause differently. His inflection might vary. Sometimes he’d kinda look at me, hinting for ME to finish it…like he was ensuring that I knew them; that I got them; that I was participating.
That he was sharing and it wasn’t just some one-way thing.
And sometimes it was “I love you,” all three words. And sometimes it was the shortened “Love you.”
I feel like it was only “recently,” though. I said above that it was part of stuff for “ages,” but “ages” COULD just be a year? Two? Definitely within the last 4.
The exceptions were nights that he wasn’t feeling well. Or when I went to bed early. Then Mom would take him the iced coffee.
Mixed in there was often Mom taking Daisey out for her last potty of the day. Often simultaneous–she’d get up to go get Daisey, and I’d grab a glass and the coffee. That always varied.
But I also often got to see and hear Dad and Mom’s exchange to each other.
And I’d be a bit embarrassed; like I was intrusive on what should have been a private moment. But they never seemed embarrassed at my presence.
Right now I can’t pinpoint our last “proper” instance of this routine. I can barely piece together that as I sit here typing this it’s been roughly 56 hours since…since that hospital room.
It’s been–give or take a half-hour or so, maybe less–four days since Mom and I helped him transfer from the power chair back to the lift chair.
It was either then, or when we had helped him first from the lift chair to the power chair, that he had commented on my “grip.” I think his words were “You have a good grip.”
But he did say–if not word-for-word, then close enough–“I couldn’t have done this without you.”
After making sure he wasn’t going to slide out of the chair, and worrying about him NOT adjusting to a “better” position in the chair, made sure Mom was “ok” and came back out to this part of the house.
But before I left I said something–now that I’m typing and trying to remember, my memory is failing me–I probably had “I’ll be ‘around'” and part of me is thinking I included “I love you.” I can’t be sure now–memory fails–if he said it back to me even if I did. I know there was at least once, weakly, between Monday evening and when he was whisked out of this house to be taken to the hospital.
POINT BEING…we never used to be big on saying the words. And whenever this particular nightly routine started, I do remember feeling sorta weird or off or something…because it was never a “regular” or “routine” thing to be said out loud. It was always there; we always knew it; but I guess maybe we both realized that it was good–for both of us–to SAY it. To vocalize it.
Hm. And as my mind has cast back, I think we may have shared the words a fair bit at the nursing homes, too; but it was a different setting and context; albeit the same heart and meaning.
I mentioned “4” years above. Because April 2017 changed our lives forever. Because that was when so many medical things came together in what apparently was a “perfect storm” of things and Dad was first hospitalized and then transferred through three nursing homes from April to December. And he finally was able to come back home, he’d been changed physically. He had the power chair and a wheelchair. He had a walker. Mom and I had become caregivers.
But we had HIM. He was home, he was with us, we were in this house that he so adored, despite the relatively short time we’d been here at that point; the still-relatively-short-time even four years later.
And words now fail me AGAIN; where I sat down thinking to start “a post” I can’t “stick the ending.” Thoughts trail off and scatter. And in the coming days and weeks and months, I suppose I’ll have so much more to share. Look at the expanse of these words began by his goodnight phrasing being in my head this morning.
I had just over 41 years with him…if I could remember everything, if I could convey everything, if it could be singular and comprehensive, that alone would fill volumes. And that’s just ME and MY experiences and memories.
Can’t begin to “do justice” and all that.
But it’s a start. I’ve typed this without breaking down. Tears have leaked, but I’ve gotten these words typed.
And it’s a start.
ONLY a start.