Not long ago, we officially transitioned Ian to hospice care. The nurses are lovely and available, there is minimal disruption and chaos, and we are just at home, being.
That being, however, changes slowly but significantly, by the day.
Ian no long rolls himself to sleep on his side (his preferred position). He leans a bit and is unable to correct it. He has lost most interest in food.
Yup, you read that right: Ian + Food = Not so much.
He understands everything, and his face still responds to the appropriate emotions ... albeit a much less wide smile and sharp twinkle, they're still there.
But they are fading.
His eyes don't focus as much, so he has a bit of a walleyed look. His voice is a whisper, and unless it's a common response in context ("thank you," "I love you, too," "Sure," "Nope,"), there's little chance of understanding what he's trying to say. But he doesn't try too hard anymore, either.
Last night he seemed alert but confused. As I have done MANY times before (due to his short-term memory loss), I explained the reason he lies there, unable to communicate.
"We're nearing the end, hon."
Furrowed brow: "Really?"
"Yes. The chemo drugs stopped working. The tumor is growing, and that's why you can't brain or speak and why you might be confused about things. I'm so sorry."
Tears used to fall after this conversation, but yesterday he stared, blinked heavily, and stared some more.
I told him that I had no idea what my Ian would want to be sure I knew or considered or took care of at the end, but that he didn't need to let any of those thoughts trouble him. I have people taking care of the important things, and although we are all going to be sad and angry and depressed and lonely and hurt and hollow, we're going to be okay.
"Everything that you would say to someone before you die you've said. I know you love me, and the kids, and you want what's best for us, and you're sorry to be leaving us. You don't need to say any of that - we know it. Just be at peace, tell me if you're in pain, and let us take care of you."
I've discussed funeral and burial things with the kids. They've both had their private "tell Dad everything you want him to know and would regret not having said" conversations. MY. KIDS. ARE. AMAZING.
Ezra is the sweetest, most empathetic child I have ever met. He just wants "everyone to be happy," "knows God has a plan even though it's not what we want," and "we should have a train that runs through the entire house so it can deliver stuff to us" [proceeds to detail the route, in excruciating detail, through every room in the house, while sitting with me in the dark on the porch].
Audrey had a dream that Ian passed away and "I didn't get to say stuff, so I made sure I did." She is joyful and bubbly, and clings to me just a little (not her M.O.). She is pouring on the funny and laughter (yes, I know she's overcompensating and hiding the pain) to lighten the mood and cheer me.
They are both heading to camp on Sunday. For two weeks. Two VERY uncertain weeks.
Would you please pray with me that Ian holds on until they return? I'd like them to say goodbye in his final moments. I'd love for them to not associate yearly summer camp with Mom appearing way too early, walking up to tell them the sad news, and taking them home early. And if none of that is possible, please pray I parent well and according to their needs; that I'm able to share grief and hold my babies and absorb their tears. That I can point them to Jesus, Who does not falter or fail, without "sounding like the people who are supposed to say that" (guess who?). That I continue to make wise choices for our family in light of our new reality, and that people accept those choices with grace.
I miss my best friend. He wanted to do this hike with me.