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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Joy and Tears

Do you believe there can be humor and joy amidst the tears?

I know, I know… it is a dichotomous thought. So totally ludicrous, the height of incongruity;  it is one that is hardly worth even considering.

Yet, we have found humor, and laughter, joy, and peace amidst the tears, the uncertainty, and the emotional vacuum which has drained us all.

At one point, while LB was in a very serious state; barely able to speak, and sleeping nearly around the clock, one of our granddaughters and I were visiting her. She was lying mostly motionless, drifting in and out of sleep as I read the new stack of cards she had received. We noticed her toes wiggling. Just for the sake of asking a totally stupid question, I said “Is there a baby Bulldog down by your feet?” With her eyes still closed, not hesitating a moment, she replied clear as ever; “Believe it or not…there is!” Our beautiful grand-daughter paused from her task of taping the cards to the cabinet and wall; we stared at one another, and burst out laughing. As we were reveling in this bit of humor, LB chuckled, knowing she had made a joke which was well appreciated.

There were those moments when she was transitioning to regular food; traversing the path of pureed and then “mechanically softened” (read; ground to a near mush), and finally to a full regular diet that will remain with me for the remainder of my life. There were times I would make an effort to be with her at meals, not only to keep her company, but to encourage her to eat.  One evening, while she was laboring her way through God only knows what it was, she set her fork down after about 4 bites. We talked for a few moments, then I encouraged her to have some more. She looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes, the most serious of expressions on her face and informed me; “I am finished. This tastes like crap. I refuse to eat any more crap.”  The culinary wonders of ketchup were once again proven. A few squirts and the meal became palatable, to a degree.

As she has become more active, she has perfected getting around the rehabilitation center by scooting her feet while seated in her wheel-chair. This is a temporary form of locomotion; as her legs are becoming stronger. However, she soon discovered that by hanging out by the front door, she could slip out when people were entering or exiting. The concern arose that she really shouldn’t be outdoors alone. The yard/parking area slope gently downward and it would take nothing for her to go rolling off. The possible end results are not terribly good; so, it is best for someone to be with her.

However, given her sweet personality, and ability to befriend people the decision was made to put an alarm on her chair. All of which worked. For awhile.

I knew it was a merely a matter of “when” and not “if”, but LB figured out she could switch from her chair to a non-monitored chair, and VOILA!—the great outdoors are hers to conquer. She was discovered the other evening, trying to convince the driver of a transport ambulance to drop her off at the mall!

After the circumstances of what happened, and all the dust settled we got a good chuckle out of that one. The nursing staff was giggling away as they put the guard on her ankle. It’s okay, though; for now she calls it a lock-box, and thinks one of our daughters made it for her.

She has a group of lady friends. They have meals together, they play cards together, the go to the music programs and such, they cruise the halls together. I call them “Cindy and her posse”. Some staff members think she is forming a coalition of constituents and will run to be elected President of the Resident’s Committee. Or the Big Cheese of the place.

During the seeming never-ending sameness of our days for the moment, these little flashes of humor burst upon the scene with an unexpected brilliance and wonder not unlike a fireworks display against the inky backdrop of a summer night sky.

But, the one thing which never fails to bring the biggest smile to my face, and lightens my burden the most is simply holding her hand; me walking, her rolling along. Just being together, hearing the musical sound of her voice, seeing the wonder of the Inner LB through her eyes.

Then recalling just how close we came to having to relinquish her to the One who created this wonderful person.

That is the greatest Joy of all. 

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