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The three of us walked into the room and saw him sitting there
resting in his chair with oxygen tubes pumping much needed air into lungs that can’t do their job anymore.
He looked up at me and said, “you’re looking good girl”.
I said back to him, “you are looking good too”.
Thinking that he didn’t look as sick as he really was.
(later my husband said his eyes lit up when I walked into the room)
I stood by his chair for a few minutes then decided to sit on a 4 wheeled walker with hand held brakes that had a height that made me sit with my toes barely touching the floor.
He reached over and made sure the brakes were down so I wouldn’t slip off.
A gesture of kindness I appreciated even from his weakened condition.
At first there were four of us chatting
attempting to get beyond ‘the how are you feeling’ questions.
Then with concentrated effort his jokes began and we chuckled at a few of his choice words.
Humor is always his way of making a moment happen without getting near ‘matters of the heart’.
Relationships are hard for him.
Matters of the heart not easy or normal.
They are mostly caught through a glimpse of his brown eyes and
not spoken
or through the moments of silence between those who are sitting in the room with him
along with the muted western tv show on a mid sized screen.
It is the way he is while he waits for this season of life to be over.
We knew he would be tired before we arrived as he had a long morning visiting others.
Fatigue is an enemy when one is very sick.
A failing body doesn’t always give room for moments of grace.
I watched him as he visited with us.
His eyes showing the strain of life leaving and the wrinkles on his face seemed deeper.
His aging hands rested near his chair or lap seemed like they wanted something to do
but could no longer do it.
He drank his container of ensure slowly and
we noticed his legs once filled out now rest in loosely fitted jeans.
His arms showing days of not eating well and his hands are thinning and bruised.
Leukemia and old age are not good combinations for someone who is trying to hold on.
Copd does not help either as the lungs cannot distribute air that should be clean and clear.
The inhaler is just a small help these days.
The oxygen is a comfort and blessing turned up to a higher dose.
His voice now a ‘laryngitis whisper’
sometimes even hard to hear from a good ears perspective.
He concentrated on every word pausing at times to gather strength
or thought.
I will remember it as sweet and endearing time.
When we left I saw his eyes tired and weary.
As I was hugging him and the warmth of his sweater I thought to myself he needed a new shirt on.
Isn’t it funny what we think when we are in the presence of someone very ill.
It took concentrated effort for him to say goodbye.
He was tired and our leaving would bring a time of rest for him at least for a short time without interruption.
It was a good visit with this man we call dad.