Hospice is a scary word. It’s a word that shatters hope of recovery. In its own way, after months of struggle, it can bring the unexpected hope of peace.
A final rest where pain doesn’t exist.
When I found out today my uncle was not getting better, it meant we had to start the phone tree. This tree has grown a lot over the last several weeks as people have come out of the woodwork to tell a story about how my uncle changed their life. This man is not the kind of person to stand in the spotlight and I think he would be embarrassed by all the praise. But every word is earned. He is kind and has saved and affected many lives in the best ways without ever asking for a thank you.
Today he’s been saying goodbye. He knows the end is near. He asked for his sons yesterday and today one flew in, the other two will be here tomorrow. My uncle said goodbye to all three through one this evening, not realizing my cousin wasn’t in fact his brothers. He’s mistaken me for my mother several times and even asked about her wedding. He wanted to know if he missed it, what gift did they buy, and was she beautiful? He wanted to make sure there’s money to take care of everyone, that they can go on a nice trip, and play cards or dice if they like. Will his friends be visiting? The ones he asks about have long passed.
I’ve never been good with goodbyes. If I’m going to see the person again, I try to hold on to next time. If I’m not, my brain blanks. Like it doesn’t know how to processes never. This has caused me to think about things like writing a eulogy. Is there anything I want to say when words fail.
I want to say I love you over and over. I want to say thank you for being there when my own grandfathers weren’t. Thank you for the advice and encouragement over the years. I push myself to be better as your words ring in my head. I am better for having known you.