Have a picture of the prettiest tree in my neighborhood, a road trip snapshot, and the view out my brother’s kitchen window.
And a content warning for talking about end of life care for my Dad.
It felt a little weird to be back visiting again so soon, but it was a good weird. High point was definitely the fun my sis & I had on our road trip down the center of Illinois, catching up on Life The Universe & Everything. It was peak color in central Illinois & Indiana this week, and the sky was clear all day, so we had grand scenery , ending with a gorgeous sharp-shadowed sunset over the ridges and valleys arund my brother’s place.
Autumn rains began on Visit Day 2, so we also got to enjoy the bright contrast of fresh-washed autumn leaves under soft gray cloud lighting.
It was a busy visit. There were official meetings with Dad’s hospice crew on Day 1 & 2, a tele-health call about the results of the last imaging on Dad’s tumor with his neuro-oncologist, two nice chats with the kind woman from the senior at-home-care company who’s taken on Dad as a client, a meeting with the new pastor of our growing-up church congregation who came to offer Eucharist and just chat…it was a lot.
Bro & SiL managed the magic of making a delicious family meal happen in the midst of all the busyness and tiredness. Much sibling famchat happened during the Dad’s-asleep hours. We shared family pictures, told stories, and caught up on Things. A star-watching night walk and a longer misty morning walk wrapped up the visit.
Bro & SiL will be getting medical support for Dad via hospice and continue general assistance via the private care company, and I’m glad. Dad’s daily care & hygiene take a lot of time and effort now, and it makes a huge difference having someone else around to help keep him company, wash dishes, and do some of the extra laundry.
Things are only going to get harder from here on. His doctors didn’t say things like “you only have X months to live” like doctors do in movies, but words like rapid, progressive, steep, and decline dropped into the conversation like stones. Median life expectancy for his kind of cancer drops steeply with every new symptom he develops.
His energy is aleady lower & his physical condition is more difficult to manage than just two weeks ago. SiL & I spent a fair bit of time online hunting for a non-reclining wingback chair with a deep, high seat to help him stay vertical during his lengthening daytime naps — and which will be easier for him to get in and out of, too.
SiL found a perfect chair on Target’s website, I did the heavy lifting of logging in & clicking “order,” and it’s supposed to arrive late in the coming week. Dad is excited that we found him a chair like one of his favorites he had to leave behind in New Hampshire.
…that part was entirely coincidental, but it still makes me & SiL happy to know we’ve found something nice for him to anticipate.
Little joys. Every one is a bright star in a darkening sky.
ANYway. I have 2 more pictures to wrap this up. First, behold Mickey the Void Kitteh, who kept me company in the guest room. Mostly he supervises the Morris household from the lofty heights of his perch.
and finally, a snap of my sis & bro and Ramrod the dog on our morning walk in the mists and autumn colors.
Until next time.