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Archive for December, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Last Days

Today I said goodbye to the kids who headed down to Boston with Steven to fly back to LA tomorrow. I’ve come up to Orono to spend some last few precious days with Dad before heading back to LA next weekend for Christmas. We deliberated about what the right thing to do was, to stay or go, who should stay, who should go. But now I’m here I feel certain we did the right thing. We had talked about staying all together until Christmas, I wanted to be here for Dad. But now I’m with him I’m glad it’s just me here.

He is terribly thin and his face now looks sunken. Since I arrived this morning he has only spoken a few words and each interaction costs him dearly. I feel him receding from me, gone is the robust, charismatic man I was lucky enough to have as a father. He’s a shadow of his former self - even he at times is losing track of who he is. Time is passing agonizingly slowly. I find myself feeling bored even, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Even if he isn’t talking, he is listening and I know in my heart how much it means to him to have me here. This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done, to be with the person you love as they slowly slip away. I’m glad I am here by myself even though I miss the kids and Steven terribly, it just gives me space to process everything.

I do feel a sense of peace though and I think, or I like to think, he does too. I haven’t had a chance to ask him if he is ready for death, I don’t really know where he is mentally. Watching him fade gradually, is hard, but not terrible. More terrible would be not being here, not being able to have the odd joke, or hold his hand. Esther continues to amaze me, she suffers his complaints without offense, just getting on with things as Mainers do. I cannot imagine the burden she is carrying right now.

So in short, I hate what is happening, but I am glad to be here. Some people talk about not wanting to see their loved one “like this”, they want to remember them “how they were”. That just seems a bit of a cop out. I’m glad to see him now, and I will always remember him how he was. That’s what we’re here for with the people we love right? The whole journey.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

O Sledding

Despite this being a tough time for me, for the kids it was a great getaway. Both of them just blossom when we come here and despite my misgivings about the weather, they both found plenty to do.

Oliver is tirelessly fascinated and enthralled with helping his Grandpa and Papa with “projects”. You can clearly see how these older male role models are so critical in his development right now. From them he is learning how to be a little man, whilst still being Mama’s little boy. It’s a lovely moment in time, 3 and a half years old.

Lola on the other hand is talking like you wouldn’t believe. Every word she repeats back and is starting to put words together. “Have it” “Did it” “Love you” “Big poopees” “Nice” (when stroking Oliver’s hair) “Fall down” “I fall down” Bless her - she is a true marvel. She’s also a real sharer, constantly offering her food to you to eat as well, or giving up a toy when a fair trade is offered.

A real treat though was a couple of days of snow. The kids loved the magic of it all and we had a fun time sledding down the hill.

Of course everyone got sick, with the exception of Steven. But we cooked, we explored, we stoked the fire, we went on the ATVs and the tractors and we braved sub zero temps and lived to fight another day!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Oliver & Grandpops

Whilst it has not been an easy visit, there have been some truly wonderful memories. I am so profoundly happy that the kids got to see Dad, and he them, before he really began to lose lucidity and strength. We had one wonderful visit. Even though we only stayed a couple of hours, it was a precious time I will always remember and cherish.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winter in Maine

We arrived yesterday after an uneventful red eye flight from LA. The kids slept wonderfully, Steven and I hardly slept at all. But we arrived in one piece, if a little tired. It’s been a while since I was in Maine in wintertime and boy its cold. It’s not that bone-chilling cold, where you daren’t leave the house without a hat for fear of your ears dropping off. Nonetheless it is cold and you do need long underwear and hats and gloves to feel remotely comfortable outside. Of course our first day here at the farm saw us all out on the ATVs, Oliver driving the tractor with his grandpa. Craziness. The kids are in heaven. I’ve never seen Oliver so excited, so articulate, just 100% engaged and enthralled.

I went to see Dad yesterday. What to say. It is so wonderful to see him, in many ways he is just the same, but at the same time, he is profoundly changed. He gets tired very quickly and is now pretty much in bed all the time. He looks so different, thinner obviously, but more fragile too. His voice is softer, more tentative. Sometimes it is easy to forget, to think that nothing has changed. Then it hits me and everything falls apart. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

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