Friday, August 20, 2010
I'm finding myself becoming more and more aware of the upcoming one year anniversary of Michael's death. I keep trying to remember what It was I was doing at this point last year. Rather than get out a calendar and try to pin point exactly what was happening, I would rather just consider in general where our lives were.
It was around this time that hospice came in the picture. It is likely that by this date hospice was already active in our home. I remember knowing prior to contacting them that with brain tumor patients, the hospice period is often very short, as the tumors eventually grow very fast, and the end comes quickly. This was also the case for Michael. When the doctor and I decided it was that time, Michael was aware of what was going on, but was suffering from considerable memory loss. I also wondered exactly how he was processing information. Intellectually he seemed to understand things, but his thoughts didn't always seem connected to emotions at that point.
I remember when the hospice social worker first came to our home, Michael made a comment about not needing their help. He turned to her, and then to me to say he didn't really see that their services offered him much more than what he was already receiving from me and the hospital. I had to explain to him the the services were going to be more of an assistance to me.
It was also about this time that Michael has having increasing problems with his mobility, so we rarely left our home. In a way it made our time left more focused. We laid around in bed talking, or sat in the living room watching television. I remember feeling so sad because he could no longer work on his Sudoku. He loved Sudoku, and it really calmed him. When he wanted a break from Sudoku he would get out his crossword puzzles, and work on those. He would often interrupt my reading or writing to ask me some of the questions in the puzzle. In the past I would have told him not to ask me because I would lose all my focus, and then get quite obsessed with the puzzle. He would just laugh, lean over and kiss me, and go back to his puzzle. But when I could see that he was having significant problems remembering, I put down my book, moved in closer, and worked on the puzzles with him. Those puzzle and Sudoku books are some of my most valued possessions.
Today I been giving thought to how I want to spend the day of the actual anniversary. I know that some people hold gatherings for their loved ones on the anniversary, but most of Michael's friend, and all of his family, live in northern California. I suppose I could organize something with all of my family and friends down here in southern California. I'll have to really consider this, as I had told most of them last year not to make the trip up to San Francisco for the memorial. I didn't want anyone traveling far for the ceremony. Most of them had already been up to see us for our wedding 11 months earlier, and I knew they would be with us in spirit. Maybe having something with them this time around might be nice.
My other idea is to go off and do something alone. I don't mean check myself into a hotel, and just lay around and cry all day. I'm sure there will be plenty of that, but I would like, and probably need, something a bit more focused. I want to look into possibly finding some kind of meditation center where I can have some solitude, but that would lend itself to mindful meditation. I remember Michael's cousin telling me of a lovely Buddhist center near Santa Cruz, but I can't be traveling that far right now. I have a job interview next week, and who knows, I could be employed by then.
It feels good just to be thinking ahead about this. It feels a bit like self-preservation.