Ch.138 Ron Refuses to Give Up Hope
“I hope Pat lives at least to the end of this year,” I told my daughter Cindy. “You may be a little too optimistic, Dad,” she gently replied.
I know, intellectually, that Cindy is telling me something I need to hear: my wonderful wife is nearing the end of her life. Pat’s ability to speak has declined quickly in the last couple months. It is rare, now, for her to be able to complete a full sentence and all too often I cannot successfully interpret Pat’s statements enough to decipher her intent. Nor can Pat feed herself without help any longer. Her hands cannot grasp the utensils and when she does get a forkful of food, she often doesn’t remember how to get it to her mouth. Pat also struggles to understand or respond to my comments; I’m not sure how much of these blog pieces Pat comprehends, although she seems to be paying attention when I read them to her. And, lastly, Pat sleeps more and more, often only waking now at mealtimes.
Physically, though, Pat has stabilized; her auto-immune disorder, bullous pemphigoid, has been repressed by a continuous prednisone regimen. With that one exception, Pat’s steady decline is evident. Six months ago, her body was fading faster than her mind; now it is just the opposite.
I have a sinking feeling as I re-read these paragraphs. And I can sense a battle taking place within my mind. Part of me accepts objective reality, including that Pat’s failing rapidly and probably won’t live until 2023, but another part of me refuses to give up hope. Not only do I want her to live, I’m still waiting for a miracle cure to be discovered that will bring Pat back, fully restored. I suspect that hopeful part of me is holding back more grief and emptiness than I can handle. It’s my life raft in the middle of an ocean of despair.
Perhaps there is a middle space between my fully accepting painful reality or living in ungrounded fantasy. I’ve located that safe place before, but I can’t seem to stay there for long. For now, the best I can do is to acknowledge both parts of my being.
No Comment from Pat on this essay.