Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living and Giving

“We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

Dad signed up for hospice care this week. Because he is not in the end stages of dying, it almost feels like "much ado about nothing." First there came an admitting nurse. She went over all the same information we'd already heard, asked the same questions, got long involved answers that we've got well rehearsed. The bottom line, Dad was assured that he would not be kicked out of the program if he didn't die on time or billed for services rendered, so he signed the papers. For me the hardest part was signing the DNR - Do Not Resuscitate Order. He already has advance directives in place, but you have to read close to see where it says don't try to revive him if he stops breathing. I pray I will know what to do -or not do- when the time comes.

Yesterday, Bob, the Teal Team nurse came by to assess Dad's condition. Same questions, same answers. Same incredulous look on Dad's face when I made a comment about the beginning of his cancer and how it's progressed. Same pissy feeling in my gut when he poo-pooed one of my answers. Bob explained the medications that would be coming. We nodded our heads in understanding and agreement. When the pills arrived, we disagreed on why they didn't send everything we expected.

The Social Worker stopped by this morning. Dad re-asked about the meds, re-asked about having to pay for anything, and re-glared at me when I didn't immediately say I get plenty of time off! Let's just not go there! I have the number to call if I want to be spelled to have "fun"! FUN ... what a concept!

So we're in the program. Does it make sense to say it feels a little like getting married? I've bought the dress, got new shoes, planned the service and now all I can do is wait. Crappy analogy, but probably the waiting feels the same.

We went to a funeral last week. I think with every farewell we attend, Dad shrinks a little in stature and disposition. It's got to be hard watching friends pass away one by one. One lady at church even said at the last funeral, "I wonder which one of us will be next." Ouch!

The front cover of the bulletin for this week's funeral had a quote from the gospel of Matthew,"Well done, my good and faithful servant." Can there be a better eulogy? When I read it, I immediately thought to myself, I hope this is what God will say to me when I cross over. And I hope that the people in my life know that this is my goal, to love and serve well.

Along the same line, here's what Jon Katz of Bedlam Farm Journal said in one of his posts today:
"Every morning, I ask myself three things. How can I best love the people in my life? How can I live my life? How can I send my signal to the world that I have stories to tell, and they are important to me. I am conscious of a connection to the many other souls struggling to get their messages out, from paintings to poems, to love to freeing the inner spirits that are wanting to get out.

So every day I write a chapter, take a photo, make a telephone call that moves my life forward, connects it to people (sometimes animals), puts a mark on the world, however small and insignificant. Somebody close to me told me yesterday that i have no idea who I am, and I believe this is true. I am accepting that who I am is reflected in what I do, not what I think or see."

It makes me wonder ... how do I send my signal to the world. I'm hoping that who I am is reflected in what I do. And when it's not, that I can quickly and earnestly change it.

As you "reflect" on your day, I hope you will be able to say to yourself, "well done." If not, remember, tomorrow the slate will be wiped clean and you get to start all over again!

Merry ME

1 comment:

Sorrow said...

I remember when the hospice people came for my yaya. She was a cantankerous old love , and the nurses could see right thru her.
She glared at me when they told me to call if i needed a bit of time away, " she muttered something like " you promised" and i did.
but she gave me the best gift when she left, she actually waited for me to go for a walk in the april sunshine, and left while i was away, knowing , perhaps how hard it would have been for me to see her last breath.
Hospice is with out a doubt, the ABSOLUTE best bunch of angels on earth.