One of the best parts of having owned this comedy club was the people who worked there, the folks who became friends and then the folks who transcend all that and became part of one’s life. My dear friend Scott is one of those. He worked there, invested in it and also happens to be our #4 hitter on our softball team. Scott recently found out that his mom had cancer.. His letters were so moving that we wanted to post for all to read… bob
Read them and pass on…share on social networks.. etc
dearest friends and family..
happy labor day.. I hope this finds you well. I so appreciate all of the emails and phone calls
letting me know we are being thought of, prayed for, and we feel the great support
of the network of loved ones. It is a GREAT feeling.. it feels like the ocean. Deep and full.
It is healing to write for me. Thanks for being a loved one in my life, that I might share my thoughts with you. Sorry they turn out as long emails, but it feels good.
We have been here almost a month now. Dad is in rehab, working hard to re-train his body
with an injury and full leg cast that is totally limiting. He had to work himself through
depression, morphine induced nightmares, hospital Intensive Care Psychosis ( a term they use when you are in ICU for an extended time – you feel like an experiment is happening ON you! What a nightmare), deep, sadness for not being there for his wife, and anger and frustration for being so distracted that he missed one step, and ruined his life. Tough stuff at (almost) 86 years old (his birthday is Sept 10th). Tough stuff at any age.
But he is a beast. And his warm personality and authentic likability has pushed away all the other obstacles. He is so liked by the staff who change him, give him therapy, nurse him back to life. He is a very hard working therapy patient…
He has been let out of the therapy center 2 times to come home to visit his dying wife. (not allowed by the usual rules) Don’t tell Medicare But we wanted to make sure he had time with his wife before she left her body, and in whatever capacity is left to acknowledge and see him. It is quite sad for him to see her, as she sleeps maybe 22 hrs a day now.. and when her eyes open, and she “lands” her eyes on you, it is the greatest feeling in the world. Dad had two such moments, and they were precious. To be seen again, to see her LIGHT again turned on and in the room, to know she HEARS him as he says “I love you” – those small and quick moments were everlasting and magnificent.
Mom is slowly leaving her body.. with each passing day she takes less breaths per minute. Her body is almost tiny by now, as the fat has all but drained away to leave just skin and bone. Laying in bed, legs flopped over and lifeless, she might be the length and width of a 4 year old. Her skin is soft and smooth, massaged and lotioned and caressed all day long by loving hands. As I’ve said before, she is dying a Queen’s Death.. and everyone should die like this.
Yesterday, with all 6 of us in the room (Dad visiting for 5 hrs), there was a moment when I thought “this is the moment”.. we were singing one of her favorite songs “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around your neck.. I love you” (our family loves musicals, as you could imagine). She opened her eyes, which takes a lot of energy and strength for her now, and sang with us for a line. Then she said “Goodbye everyone” – in the slightest whisper.. and stopped breathing for 2 seconds or so.. and I thought, “Oh my, was that IT??” … and then she started breathing slowly again. It was an amazing moment, but not the one she wanted to leave on. We leave that to her and her God, and her Karmic Path. As witnesses and loved ones, it is so sweet to be so quiet in life as to recognize the in and out of someone’s breath.
This time so reminds me that birth and death are so intertwined and similar. Society lets you go into this womb of time and space, putting aside all other responsibilities as everyone accepts, understands and gives permission to this time in life. It has been weeks, and we have stopped working jobs, duties, and regular activities. The world stops turning, life slows down, as everything gets very small and quiet. You go into your nest, into your home, into your bed.. Friends pray for you, families send food, and visit.
In Labor and in Passing, whether at home or the hospital, it is intensive care 24/7 to make sure every need is covered and cared for. Lips are kept moisturized, bodies are rubbed down, positions are turned to manage pain, cold liquids are used to keep thirst away and parched throats at bay, and medicines to manage pain are an arms length away. Everything is about the person in front of you. They are all that matters.
When the baby comes, and in those first few days of life, it is eerily similar to watching a person passing. You await for them to open their eyes, sit by their side for hours and hours, just hoping for a moment, and if you’re lucky, their gaze will fall upon you. And if that gaze is empty and distant, you understand – they are not really inside there.
But if you feel their eyes are on you, really SEE you, then your heart lights up like the rays of the sun and LIFE itself shoots right through your body. What a feeling. I had it with both of my girls at that stage of life, and I have it with my mother at this stage. The eyes are the window to the soul, and in these moments, that phrase is so true.
When a baby cries out discomfort, you go through your checklist of what can be done to sooth it. Same with my mother. When a baby smiles, it is a miracle to be witnessed, and the feeling in unlike any other smile they will ever give you. Same with my mother. When the baby has a bowel movement, she is cleaned up as quickly as possible – with an urgency that is primal. Same as my mother. When a baby makes sounds, utters something from her voice, the world is put on mute as you try and decipher what those sounds might mean. Same as my mother.
So on this Labor Day, I salute death and birth, leaving and coming, and transitions.
It is LABOR to come to a human body. It is Labor to leave a human body.
And they are both rather amazing to witness.
Much love to you, your family, your life.