Hospice II and III

II

“How did you get here, Helen?” Natalie asks me.

“I’m not Helen,” I say.  “I’m Grace.  And David is here too.”

“Oh,” Natalie says, nodding, her eyes unfocused.  She’s almost completely blind from macular degeneration.  She has been for years, and now that she’s in Hospice, after a year of disorienting illness and moving around from home to hospital to rehab to home to hospital to rehab, over and over and over, when she has any idea at all who is with her it’s a victory.  “Is this real?” she asks.

“I think it is,” I answer.  “And that’s a really good question,” I say.  “You’ve had so much confusion over the past year, checking in about what’s real and what isn’t makes sense.”

“And we’re happy to help you understand what’s real,” David says, coming over to touch Natalie’s arm.  I’m holding her hand.

III

“Is this a truck visit?” Natalie asks.  We’re back after two days, having been to New York for Emilio’s birthday party.  We’re on our way back to New Hampshire.

“What’s a truck visit?” David asks.  “People who come on a truck?”

“Yes,” Natalie says.

“We didn’t come on a truck,” David says.

“We’ve been to Emilio’s birthday party,” I say and Natalie puffs out her cheeks.  “Are you making cheeks like Emilio’s?” I ask and she nods.

After I’ve helped her drink some water and eat some soup for lunch I ask, “Are you comfortable?  Do you want me to put your bed back down?”  We’ve raised the head of the bed so she can eat and drink.

“That’s two questions,” she says.

“You’re right,” I say.  “Are you comfortable?”

“You can ask me two questions,” she says.

“Okay.  Are you comfortable?  Do you want me to put your bed back down?”  Natalie nods and I press the button and the bed flattens.

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.

2 Responses to Hospice II and III

  1. Sam Mattern-Schain says:

    This made me smile, the puffed out cheeks, the way Bubba embraces clarity and confusion equally, sad and inspiring all at the same time. I’m going to miss her.

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