As many of you know, I’ve been keeping a vigil with my mother-in-law and family members of her husband as he makes the journey from this life to the hereafter. It’s been a long journey for him, one that began last winter when his foot became starved of circulation. What started as a fungus eventually took his foot, and then his leg, and now his life. Vascular disease is a killer, make no mistake about it. If blood can’t bring its oxygenated healing properties to keep the body healthy, it’s simply a mathematical certainty that time is not on your side. Clogged arteries are in a word, deadly.
So after several hospitalizations, a couple of attempts at rehab, and two amputations, the surgeons who tried in vain to save him said they’d done all they could. It was just a matter of time before the gangrenous infection would take over. Twelve days ago we brought him here to the Marliere House – Hospice Care Center in New Port Richey for his final days.
It is a beautiful facility, equaled by the excellent care he’s being given. The comforts of family as well as patient are well attended to.
As I sit out here in a rocking chair on the porch outside his room, I’m taken back to another day forty-two years ago, on a spring day like today, when I lost my husband to an errant blood clot that hit his heart. He was my mother-in-law’s only child. Blessedly, her Alzheimer’s disease at age 92 masks the pain of his loss, and only moments ago she asked me again, “How am I related to you?”
But today’s pain of losing her husband of 30 years is hitting her hard. She forgets, and then when she does realize he’s passing, in her mind she’s hearing it for the first time. She feels the jolt, over and over again. She cries in shock. It is sad. He’s been her protector, her friend, her knight in shining armor. Think of Norman (Henry Fonda) and Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn) in the movie “On Golden Pond”, and you have the picture.
Speaking of pictures, I’ve taken several of the Marliere House HPH Hospice Care Center. It is a tranquil, lovely spot, a perfect place to make the final passage.