Last night our dearest, dearest friend, Bruce, took us out to dinner. Bruce is the golf buddy/angel who has volunteered his time every Monday afternoon for the last three years. He says it’s not a sacrifice, but that he and Jerry have a special bond...a special connection and friendship. Bruce, somehow, manages to communicate with Jerry like no one else can. They are true buds, accept when he “forces” Jerry to walk the trail in the beautiful national park around the corner. Jerry always goes, begrudgingly, and leads the way. Bruce doesn’t know the entire story, because he refuses to be slave to a computer and doesn’t read the blog. Since I don’t have much private time to talk on the phone, he hasn’t exactly been able to hear the whole story. But Bruce knows and has seen Jerry’s decline. Our time with Bruce was the first of the “goodbyes”. When he rang the doorbell, there he was, standing there with his compassionate eyes and gentle smile. Jerry was delighted to see him, in fact, covered his face with his hands to hide his huge surprised grin. Our favorite Italian place was too crowded so we opted for Chinese. The place was quiet and the cutest little girl, Ting Ting, waited on us. Ting Ting had just come from China to live with her aunt and uncle and learn English. She had an infectious cheery spirit about her, which we all needed.
So, as we were eating, Bruce asked, “Is it set in stone?” Down the drain I went. I quickly responded, “Yes. I have to. Otherwise, I’ll never be able to do it. ” He looked down. Jerry was eating his spicy shrimp and minding his own business. Bruce said, “I understand. I see what’s happening.” We both absolutely hate it.
Up until now, I’ve been able to stay positive and focused. But the reality is setting in. Nine more days until “move in”. Jerry has no idea what’s about to happen. It’s so permanent. Earlier yesterday, I asked if he remembered that he was going somewhere to get more help. I asked if he would like to pick out some pictures for his room. We sat and thumbed through our album. This was a test for me to see how much he was comprehending. As we looked, he didn’t recognize anyone completely, not even his children. What he did recognize, however, were the good feelings that he had. He was all smiles. What he remembered was a wonderful life.
In a way, that helped me...the fact that he would not miss us. Yet, after our sweet evening with Bruce, the reality came that we are getting closer to closing the door to this chapter in our lives. Boo! Hoo! So, “get a grip, Sue!” If all we have left in life is the memory of a wonderful life....I would say that’s a good thing.