Saturday, February 19, 2011


My father-in-law went into a hospice last Thursday. Sunday he became unresponsive.  We spent the past week at his side. At one point I had time alone with him and I talked to him and told him everything I wanted to say (including the score of the Canucks game that was on that day because he would have wanted to know). I recorded Lincoln blabbering and gurgling and squealing and Ruby saying "Hi Grandpa Stan. I love you Grandpa Stan". When I played it for him he responded to it and turned his head towards my phone and tried to talk and reach. It was bitter sweet and heart wrenching.

He passed away on Thursday morning at 7am with his best friend at his side.  I am glad he wasn't alone.

That morning at exactly 7am, Lincoln started crying. He had been awake for 20 minutes already and had been happily playing with his toys on the floor. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.

The hospice placed a butterfly on his door as they use the butterfly to symbolize a person's natural transformation from life to death.

The next day after I got home with the kids, I put Ruby down for her afternoon nap.  Oddly she was up within 10 minutes knocking on her side of her bedroom door.  When I opened the door - she had a butterfly in her hand and held it up to me. It was a beautiful handmade butterfly that she got when she was born. It has been hanging on the back of her doorknob and this was the first time she's ever taken it off.

Steve was given his dad's watch the day he died. The next day the watch stopped.

In my dreams that night I saw him from behind, walking, holding Ruby's hand.

We will miss him. He truly was a special man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The end is near

I can not believe the support I get from you guys.  You are amazing, amazing women and I can not thank you enough for supporting me through everything I write about. It makes me feel so much less alone.  And so much less like an asshole.

After this past weekend I can't help but feel guilty for writing that last post though.  Things have changed again and now Steve really does need my support. His actions have become truly genuine.

Steve took Ruby to visit his dad in the hospice on Saturday morning.  He was really tired and a little bit confused but he was able to talk a bit to his visitors and he was watching sports on TV.  Then yesterday, Steve, myself, Ruby and Lincoln went in to visit him.  We were taken aback at the dramatic change in him.  He was basically unconscious the whole time we were there.  He is skin and bones.  He's barely there.

I found it really hard being there with my kids because they don't know what's going on and I obviously had to mother them and try to keep them quiet.  It is no longer bringing Steve's dad joy to bring them to visit.  He didn't even know they were there and I struggled to keep them quiet amidst my own grief.  Steve's brother and his girlfriend then showed up as I was getting ready to take the kids over to my parents house for their naps. They were obviously shocked at the state FIL was in and things got confusing with people trying to figure out what to do and what to say and who should do what and in the kerfuffle we kind of got ushered out the door (by SIL) without me having the chance to properly say goodbye with the kids.  I always put Lincoln's cheek up to FIL's cheek and Ruby always gives him a kiss.  We didn't get to do that. 

And it was the last time they will ever see him.

They aren't going back to the hospice, it's not right anymore.  That kinda bugs me - but I know that it only matters to me. The kids don't know any different and my FIL likely wouldn't have known.  But maybe he would have.  Anyways - the important thing is that I took them for every visit I could while he could still enjoy them.  And they said goodbye and gave kisses every time they left. Except that last time - fuck that really does bug me and I'm pissed that I allowed someone else to rush me out before I did what I needed to do. 

Steve and I took the kids over to my parents and then returned to the hospice.  By that time it was just MIL and FIL there so we had a bit of time to just sit in the room and chat a bit with MIL and just be with FIL.  A couple of times FIL stopped breathing and we all held our own breath.  But he started back up each time after a minute or so, but it is very laboured. 

We know that the end is very, very close. Likely within a couple of days. Almost surely before the weekend.

When we left, I kissed FIL's cheek and told him I loved him. I rubbed his hand and he squeezed mine and then kind of shook it.  Then Steve kissed his dad's head and told him he loved him and hugged him.  His dad then lifted his arm and wiggled his fingers to wave goodbye to Steve.  Both Steve and I believe that he was saying goodbye to us for the last time.  It meant so much to us both.  But at the same time, rocked us to the core with overwhelming sadness. There have been lots and LOTS of tears since then. 

Steve's mom isn't sure she wants to be in the room with him when he passes.  But she doesn't want him alone.  Steve said he doesn't want to be there either - he just wants to get a phone call to say that it's over. 

I do NOT want him to die alone, I don't think anybody does.  I would happily be there with him to hold his hand when he passes. I think I am the strongest, most spiritual person in the family for this situation.  The problem of course, is that I have two little kids to look after and I have no options for child care.  I feel really helpless with being here, an hour away - and being limited as to what I can do to help. 

I'm making a pot of turkey soup right now.  Because in the aftermath we'll have something comforting to eat.  And also because I need to do something wholesome right now to ease my hurting soul.

As if a pot of turkey fucking soup can do shit to make any of this better.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm a jerk.

At risk of sounding like a selfish, mean, ignorant, cold bitch and alienating all my readers - I am going to go ahead and unload a shitload of thoughts and feelings here that may not leave me in the best of light.  I have no choice - if I do not let it out I may implode or explode and I can think of no other "safe-ish" place to do it.

Now, where to start...

I guess to catch you all up on the situation, I'll tell you that Steve's dad took a turn for the worse.  His body is riddled with cancer. He has it in his brain, liver, lungs, adrenal gland, spine and likely his colon.  The doctor who said he would be back on the golf course by the spring gave everybody false hope and I feel he was very irresponsible in doing that and I would like to personally find him and kick him in the balls.  Steve's dad was home but is back in the hospital now as he can not stand up and he is too weak to even hold a newspaper.  He's been given a catheter and has a bedsore already.  He's got minimal appetite and has lost a load of weight. We were last told that he's got about 6 weeks left. We are all completely fucking devastated. It just sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

My MIL has been outstanding. She really has. She's been so strong and I am amazed and impressed by her. Sad that her and I have never gotten along better than we have since my FIL's diagnosis - but I do feel that good will come from bad and I'm happy with this bit of goodness. I have been calling her regularly to check on her, bringing her meals whenever I go visit (which is once a week), and bringing her little gifts and treats whenever I can.  She seems to really appreciate it and that makes me feel good.

I wrote my FIL a letter.  I wanted him to know how I feel about him and the great job he's done as father to Steve. I wanted him and my MIL to know how I feel and I would never get the chance to say it verbally.  They both loved the letter and said my words were beautiful.

I bring the kids to see my FIL at every chance I get. They bring him (and my MIL) such joy and I want him to have as much joy as possible. I also want the kids to spend as much time with him as possible even if they won't remember it later in life.

Where my issues lie are with my husband. (Here's where I make myself look like an asshole.)  I feel like he's not dealing with his father's illness very well at all. (I know, I know - we all grieve differently but I think it's more than that) He's always been a softy and an emotional person and he is VERY close with his dad so I expected him to be really sad and to have some struggles. I expected tears and emotions.  But I am starting to think that it's getting out of control and that he's perhaps being a little bit... selfish about the whole thing.  Last weekend when we went to visit in the hospital we had a nice visit until we were ready to leave and Steve absolutely fell apart.  I stood off to the side of the room with the kids, waiting for him to hug and kiss his dad but he started sobbing and waved me out of the room.  I had to pack Ruby and Lincoln (who is now over 21lbs, by the way) out of the hospital and load them into the van by myself.  Steve showed up a while later, a complete wreck, sobbing and saying he's never seen his dad so upset. Well, darling... that is because you were so upset in front of him.  The man is dying - can we not give him the gift of at least restraining ourselves from falling apart in front of him? He wants to know that we're going to be ok after he's gone - I feel it's unfair to unload our sorrow onto him. He then had me drive to his moms house so he could bawl on her shoulder.  She was a bit chuffed at him and told him that we have to just deal with this shitty part of life and he needs to keep his chin up. I also felt that that maybe wasn't fair for him to do to his mom - she's dealing with SO MUCH already.  I feel like Steve still wants to be a little boy and for his mom and dad (and brother) to take care of him. He needs to man up a bit. 

His family has started leaving him out of decisions and family meetings and discussions because he can't seem to handle any of it.  But he gets upset to not be involved.  I honestly don't blame them.  Everybody is dealing with their own grief and their own problems and trying to make the best of the time they have left and it's hard for them to have to deal with Steve's sobbing on top of all of that. 

And if you think that sounds cold... just wait. I've got more.

Steve will use any and all opportunity to elicit sympathy from people.  My mom asked him the other day if he's busy at work and he replied that he had to go for a little walk by himself to sort out his thoughts.  Uh, not what she was asking.  He gets all weepy at the drop of the hat.  He'll call me to talk about banking and it somehow gets turned around to him being sad and he'll get all choked up.  I mean, I've been nothing but supportive to him.  He has been seeing a counselor and everyone around him is trying to help him.  And I kinda feel like he's liking it, too much.  He seems to LOVE people giving him sympathy. I sometimes think he uses this situation to get attention. 

...I'm going to hell.

He is mopey around the house.  He cries in front of our kids.  He isn't supportive of me. He hates it if I say anything that isn't 100% sympathetic to him and his needs. He is distant from me. He wants me to care for him and the kids and the house and he gives nothing in return - all in the name of grief.

I work HARD all day every day.  The added stress and requirements with his dad's illness have added to my physical and emotional work load.  I don't complain. I don't.  I feel it is my job and I suck it up and I do what I have to do.  At the end of the day when I'm tired and yes, sometimes depressed and sad over the situation - he rarely notices. He's too consumed with his own self. It's not about ME, I know that.  But I'm lonely and tired and sad and need some sort of comfort and companionship.

Yes, his dad is dying but Steve is still a husband and a father and he has responsibilities to me and to us. 

To add to the misery - he recently cracked a rib while playing soccer.  Good lord, he's on about it every chance he gets.  He cries and complains and fucking whines about it all day and night.  The other night he woke me in the middle of the night to tell me he slipped off his pillow and could I adjust him back onto his pillow because it hurt him too much and he couldn't move.  Really?  And even though he's been to the doctor and he's been told there's nothing they can do for a cracked rib except have him take lots of Advil - he still keeps threatening he's going to take himself to emergency because it hurts so bad.  Oh for fuck sakes, suck it up!  I realize how painful a cracked rib can be but good lord I am so sick and tired of hearing about his fucking painful ribs and watching him mope around wallowing in self sorrow. 

I'm running out of Mrs. Nice Wife.  I'm starting to get short with him and frustrated by the little things - like him breathing too loud, or scraping his teeth on his fork, or getting sucked into fucking Facebook like a bloody zombie while the house falls apart around him.  Sometimes my kids get on my nerves because I've been so frazzled by everything else and have little support. 

Ok, that's enough - kids are fussing and Steve has called saying he's on his way home for his lunch (which I need to make). I've said enough to guarantee myself a spot in hell now anyways.  I had to get it out though.  Thanks for listening/reading.  Try not to judge me too harshly.