Hospice

IMG_1060Two women came out of the room closest to where I was sitting in the hallway with Natalie, Eric’s mother.  Natalie has been through another round of hospitalization, and this time the doctor suggested she be discharged to hospice.  The Connecticut Hospice is in a beautiful location, on the water at the entrance to Branford Harbor.  Sunday was a gray and windy day and the wall of windows in the lobby opened to waves sloshing against the rocks along the shore.

The older of the two women put her hand on my shoulder and stood next to me.  Natalie was dozing, I was sitting quietly, content just to be there with her through her cycles of waking and napping.  “I know what it’s like,” the woman said.  “It’s good of you to be here.”

I looked up at her.  “I know what it’s like too,” I said.  “I’ve been through this before.”  I nodded towards Natalie.  “I was married to her son who died.”

“My son, 46-years old.”  The woman gestured towards the room she’d come out of.

“I’m so sorry,” I said.  “Her son, Eric, was only 54.  Ocular melanoma.”

“Brain tumor,” the woman said, and again I said, “I’m so sorry.”  The other woman with her just stood there nodding.  We all looked at each other, quiet, letting our shared language of ages and diseases settle between us.

The women were gone by the time Natalie opened her eyes again.  The sound of a trio, violin, piano and guitar, playing holiday music came down the hall from a common room. “Let’s get moving,” Natalie said, not for the first time during the visit.  “Okay, let’s move.”

“Why don’t we stay here,” I said.  “We can listen to the music.”

Advertisements

About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
This entry was posted in Family, Life Changes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s