Charles Prugh: The Art of Living and Dying: July 2

We all got up at five. Mom had apparently heard him in her sleep. There was a light on downstairs and she remembered she needed to get a blanket for him. He was down there pulling on the catheter again. He doesn’t understand what it is doing there and it takes him so long to learn. We have to tell him things over and over again. “Dad, if you pull on that you will have to go the hospital.” Then he gets it. Big threats that make him paranoid.

The Hospice nurse is Clare Burroni. I wasn’t there to see her. She says and his doctor says that this disorienting, between worlds is a result not of the morphine but of the dying process. His penis swelling, his legs swelling, all part of the process. He seems so lucid at times its hard to believe. Every so often after we’ve talked for some time about some things that matter so to him, he is able to really look at me and I can feel a connection. But there is less vibrancy in the eyes. I can feel the connection though.

I must have cried all the way down to Sunnyvale. Its so confusing. What a rich time, a blessed time, and at the same time anxiety producing. Will I get to be with him again? That is always the question. Will I have time gather material for the book. Did I begin it too late? What have I not said that needs to be said? How can I possibly spend as much time up there as possible?

He said today walking down the hallway that he didn’t trust me if I was telling him the truth about the drugs. I tried to tell him that he had had too many drugs and we were going to try reducing the dosage. It didn’t work. He thought I was telling him he was doing better just to make him feel good. Its times like that where I have to regroup inside. Its not personal. He’s just more paranoid than usual. Dad, you know that you can trust me. How could you not know that? He spends so much of his day disoriented now. When did it happen? He said he died in the hospital the other day and then corrected himself. Maybe he did. But at what point did that happen? The disorientation? Its hard to understand. Will I wait until Thursday to see him again? I’m not sure I can wait that long.

Dad recited this poem to me while eating breakfast this morning:

Down down from the birds so high
I see money descending from the sky
Whence it comes I do know why
I say to myself my oh my
My oh my.

There are bits and pieces I’ve forgotten to write about. Its easier to just dictate for dad and get too tired or drained to attend to my own experience. I’ve got to make a practice of getting it all down each day. The day I went to Muir Beach – that might have been last Saturday the 29th for Deb’s birthday I saw a king snake and a black monarch butterfly. This was the day that I first dictated for Dad. And so my entire experience went unrecorded. Muir beach was clear that day. Only a slight breeze came up later in the afternoon. I walked between the women and said very little. It was obvious that my interest in socializing was null. I just couldn’t wait until I was alone again. And then I had to get back and walked through the hills by myself. This is when I saw the king snake and the butterfly. I have become pissed off with the vultures. They seem to hover overhead every where I look.

Tonight’s concern is with my schedule. I’m trying to determine how to proceed. I’m feeling as though I need to go back on the writing and catch up with my own experience. I know I need to apply for a new driver’s license. I certainly have papers to grade and I should write an email to my close friends to let them know whats going on. I should probably drop in at school although I often know not why. Something my dad would say. But then there is the scarcity thing with how much time we’ve got left. A part of me wants to spend what I perceive as every moment but I also know that I’m competing for his attention. When can we have time alone? There are so many visitors and appointments and it takes a couple of hours to really have a conversation. I wonder what its like for the others… for me the way we connect is so special, even in this state and I guess I just don’t want to be interrupted. But I also feel that they should have time with him. Mom needs time. She is catching up with the reality of the situation and she loves him. She deserves the time. So I’m hoping that by morning I have gained some clarity with regards to how I should proceed and whether Will will be with me.

I miss normalcy.I miss the superficiality of competing against someone who is a good yogi, lying in the back yard with nothing on my mind. I remembered tonight in yoga class the importance of not living in the future, or the anxiety that surrounds the future. What we have is the breath and the present moment. That’s it.

Dad said there was a guy in a blue robe sitting across from him at the table this morning. There is so much he says that I just want to get down. Do I get to ask for more time? Is that fair? I don’t even know.

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