July 29, 2011 · 10:19 am
Have the searing heat and the national debt debate got you down? A scan of newspapers, Internet and television news and Facebook posts, not to mention those oft-forgotten personal conversations, shows a pretty grumpy America. We’re hot and we’re mad and we wonder how things could get any worse. Hrumph.
As I thought this morning about what to wear that would absorb the perspiration, and dreaded doing all the things I have to do today and over the weekend that involve going out in the 100-degree weather, my calendar spoke to me.
It happens that I’m scheduled to visit two hospice patients today and tomorrow. One visit involves taking an elderly patient out to an appointment. This woman asked me yesterday if I wanted to cancel because she was afraid the heat was going to be too much for me. This is the same woman who, when I expressed my condolences for the recent passing of her husband, said, “Thank you, but there are so many people worse off than I am.”
This is not intended to be about how people experience grief or face their mortality, or even to talk about who’s worse off than whom. We’re all entitled to our own feelings and, when it comes to misery, there’s no hierarchy.
But I’m choosing to see it that way this weekend. Yes, it’s 115 degrees in our cars. Yes, our country is swirling down with the Ty-D Bowl man in his little boat, taking our personal savings and investments right along with it.
But for the next two days, I’ll be with people who are facing some pretty unpleasant issues as well. My plan is to live in their realities for a while, and hopefully exchange the humidity and the national brawl for some perspective.
December 2, 2010 · 7:43 am
I blog today with a broken heart. In fact, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak, I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet.
Some time ago, I introduced you to Elvis. As cheesy as this might sound, my family and I fell hopelessly in love with Elvis, a 19-year-old deaf, arthritic cat when, about two months ago when, for whatever reason, he left his family and came to live on our side of the street. We suspected that he suspected that his long life was coming to an end.
I pretended that Elvis came to me, the hospice lady, for comfort and end-of-life care. The reality is, I fed him, as did our next door neighbors, who also provided him with a warm bed on their front porch. We all know what animals do when you feed them. But I took Elvis on as my latest hospice patient, giving him as much food as he wanted and wrapping him in a towel when he was too confused to take cover from the rain.
Yesterday, while away on a business trip, I received a message from our neighbor that Elvis had returned home to his family, where he died. According to the note, Elvis “spent the last several nights curled up inside, comfortably on a pillow.” As with most hospice situations, and as it should be, the patient died surrounded by family.
When I get home, I will kneel at the spot under our bushes where Elvis made his temporary home and remember how he brightened my life with his sweet purr and the meow that sounded like a duck quacking.
I can only hope that, wherever animals go when they die, Elvis lives on in his own Graceland.
Godspeed, Elvis. Love ya, buddy.