Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Emotions of Gary's Birthday

What a day!  I am always mesmerized by the emotions God allows us to experience in just one day.

and many others I have probably forgotten.

I seem to be waking extra early every day.  I awoke this morning realizing that it was Gary's 68th birthday and the first since I have know him that we have ever been apart.  I always took pride in waking up in the middle of the night and putting his cards and gifts in an obvious place for him to find upon awaking. 

Today was different.  No Gary in our bed.  Instead, Diva Gerl was curled up next to me under the covers with a slight whimper when the alarm playing "Jesus take the wheel" sounded. By the way, that is the only way I succeed and survive...I try desperately to give him the wheel everyday.

I hurried to get to Sunrise to see Gary.  He was seated at the breakfast table fully dressed with his eyes tight shut.  I led with "Happy Birthday Gary!!!!"  He had no reaction but repeated "happy birthday Gary."

I inquired about his night and was told that no one witnessed a tremor and that his sweating had stopped.  Perhaps the CIPRO is starting to work.  While I fed him brown sugar oatmeal and read him his card from his stepmother, Anna, he kept his eyes shut.  It is amazing that he keeps his mouth shut until the very moment food is near his lips and then he opens his mouth. 

Due to birthday allowances, he got extra bacon and French toast!  I fed him about half and had to leave for work.  I hated leaving him but I chose to have no choice.  Little did I know is that just a few minutes later, his daughter appeared and visited him for his birthday.  She said that she wasn't sure he knew she was there because he didn't open his eyes.  I know that he knew because tonight during our visit, he mentioned her name. 

After an  extremely fulfilling day at work, I was late getting to him but made it in time for pie.  They were all happy that he had balloons and had blown out the candle on his cupcake.  What a priceless video!  I so appreciate the caregivers and their love for my man. 

We spent about an hour together sitting in the living room.  He whispered words quietly that were not heard.  He stared at me with an intensity that meant neither love nor hatred nor confusion.  Just a blank stare. 

He at one point, pulled my hand to his mouth and tried to chew my fingernail.  I told him not to chew my finger and he matter-of-factly said, "why not?"  So, I let him put my finger in his mouth.  He softly nibbled at it and said, "see?"

The movie "walk the line" was on in the background and he kept picking up lines from the movie and repeating them.  He was listening to the caregivers talking in the background and repeating their words.  I said, "why don't you listen to me?" 

I then realized that I have stopped really talking to him .  I only give him small cues or tell him I love him.  I guess I don't say anything interesting because I had discounted his ability to understand.  So, I started telling him about my day. 

I told him about the diversity issues that started my day.  I added some topics from my work load that in a prior life would have elicited advice.  He just sat there.  I told him about the rest of my day and again wished him Happy BIrthday.

All the while he was chewing hard on his dinner napkin.  I could not pry his fingers off it.  I gave up and held his other hand.  As I sat and just experienced our breathing, I had many thoughts.

"Would this be our last birthday together?"
"Does he have thoughts in that brain that he is not sharing?"
"Does he have thoughts?"
"Is this all an act and he is just enjoying being taken care of?"
"Is he just doing research for his idea of THe Circle of Life Holistic Health Care Center?"

In fact, this morning when I awoke, I was thinking about Gary's brainchild that was never built.  I could raise the money and build the center.....for wealthy people.  Or for poor people......that idea is next after I write the book.  Gary's disease cannot go unnoticed.  If God intended it, I will make it all happen.

So, as we sat holding hands and exchanging quiet pecks on the lips, Gary again closed his eyes.  He spends large parts of his morning and evenings with his eyes closed.  He was sleepy so I left.  I felt as if I had done enough for his birthday evening.

Life is so sad.  I find myself driving home wondering what the future will bring.  The loneliness is stifling. 

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