If you read my blog fairly regularly you know I have a special person I visit every week. He is dying. Of course we are all dying, but he is closer to the subject than most of us. I cherish our time, and the hours I leave the world behind and am at the farm home he and his wife have built – a magical island of calm.
It had been a month. I had the flu and the weather kept me away for the other three weeks. It had been too long. I missed the smells of cooking and herbs drying from threads across the corners of rooms. I missed the birds gathering for a chance at the feeder. I missed his smile and our gentle routine.
His room, as warm as a tropical isle, looks out on the barn. The chocolate brown cows have grown and the goats looked fat and happy. I stood in the window and looked very closely with my inner Allen from NHGardenSolutions training my eye. Yes! the Lilacs are budded and seem to be actually swelling just a touch! Or am I so desperately hopeful? But I pointed it out to him and he agreed, they looked alive. We discussed taking a walk, then his wife came in and wondered if a ride in the car might be on the schedule. The temperatures are bitter and the effort was scrapped. We would keep to the small, warm world of his home.
We wandered out to the kitchen to watch the birds. He preferred to stand at the window, when I offered to bring the wheelchair. It is healthier for him to walk and stand. We dug out the bird book and looked up my guess of Pine Siskins then tried to discern the individuals as they came and went. A female cardinal, dressed in her respectable dove-gray suit, perched on the railing and cocked her head at us inquisitively.
He was in a lot of pain. I could see the twitches when it caught him in its grasp. His wife gently administered remedies and soothed him. A hot water bottle provided relief. He fought hard to stay awake and bright through our lunch. I brought stuffed eggplant knowing it wasn’t enough but hoping it would be enough of an addition. He repeated his anticipation of the delight all morning. In the end, I knew he was exhausted but he ate with such relish it didn’t matter.
As I walked slowly through the wind to my car, I wondered briefly if anyone had been looking for me in the past few hours. Then I smiled and thought, “Well, just Ms. Cardinal and all those who mattered.”