As a family we are now at the point where we don’t know how long dad has left. He has been in bed for 9 days, firstly upstairs in the bed he shared with mum and since Thursday downstairs. We didn’t expect things to take the turn they did as quickly as they did. The night before he took to bed, he had been for a meal out with my brother. That day he had pottered around his garden. Now his world has shrunk to one room.
At times, he is animated, happy to engage in the world around him. That happened today when my niece visited with his great grandson. But mostly he sleeps. Getting him to drink is difficult, to eat, impossible.
Mostly those present are family. We combine our caring roles and discussing the difficulties we face with normal life activities and discussion. We try to reassure mum that she is doing well. At times between us we complain at the way she struggles to cope. But really this is a defence mechanism for us all. Tonight she confessed she doesn’t know how to use the dishwasher; that was always dad’s job. No wonder she has rushed to wash every plate and cup as it became used.
We don’t know how long dad has left. We know it isn’t long, but how long we just don’t know. We are now living day to day. Trying to explain to outsiders that life is on hold. Meanwhile work continues, life continues. As a nurse, I know that every death is different, that we are dealing with the unknown.
Knowing that he suffers. That he is sad that he is experiencing the end of his life, I wonder if it is bad that I hope that he gets what he needs soon. Trouble is, that for us the pain is just beginning.