pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Deadline

29 September 2014


From Sequoia
28 November 2008

Two to eight weeks.

I am no stranger to death. Its workings aren't unknown to me. I've seen the process and the end result. I understand time frames and probability. I know, only too well, what a terminal diagnosis is.

And yet.

And yet, yesterday, I was told that we are there. Two to eight weeks.

And yet, my brain continues on in some sort of denial.  I know he's dying. I knew he was dying 11 months ago. I told my children to expect that last year was likely the last time we'd spend the holidays together. But, I hear two to eight weeks, and I try to process that idea. It's like he's leaving on a trip, I tell myself, but he's never coming back.

Unreasonably, I envision him in his prime, standing in the doorway of airplane, waving goodbye.

I can't explain why the concept puzzles me. I test the hypothesis but it makes no rational sense.

He is not helping the process, of course. Yesterday, I took freshly made meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which he picked at. I knew he would--he has no appetite--so was unoffended. I was grateful that he'd made the effort. He made the effort, too, to joke with us, telling us that his soft drink was too cold and he'd have to "sneak up on it."

"Don't let it see you're coming," I warned with a smile.

"You are so right," he responded with gently mocking gravity.

At the end of the afternoon, he thanked me for making a meal, and pressed my hands to his face. He told us that he appreciated our help and with our help, he was going to get better.

Going. To. Get. Better.

At first I was stunned by what seemed blatant denial of the situation. He is so thin and his skin is parchment-colored, almost waxy. His hands were like ice. My brain--oh my treacherous brain--parsed his words. "Better" meaning he would be dead and in a better place?

Was he actually, in his head, taking the parental role to its ultimate place and trying to reassure us?

I have no answers.

And as someone who generally has a game plan, this time, I don't even know what to do.

Tech stuff: Taken with my my Nikon D40.

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