About the middle of June I wrote my first reflection on caregiving for my partner, Stephen. Here we are four months later, and Stephen is about the same, maybe a little worse. No need to go into the details of the illness, his basic problems are pain management and staying mobile on a walker. Also, it’s very likely that the situation is chronic. I think that Stephen and I have been doing a pretty good job of dealing with this situation effectively. Of course, Stephen does get discouraged and frustrated from time to time, but most of the time he still manages to summon up the courage and determination that he is made of. For my part, I have discovered surprising emotional stability and physical capability.
My last post was an attempt to be upbeat about a very grim subject. That was Sept. 6, and on Sept. 13, Gil died. I did go right down to the water and help push the boat off. I said to him, “I’m sorry to see you go, but many people love you, and God is with you.” Gil’s right eyelid twitched and I saw just a little eye. Minutes later, Gil’s boat had pushed off to the next dimension. Later that day, I remembered how, when Gil would do something just a little more outrageous than usual, he would catch you looking at him. Then his eyes would literally twinkle—how I loved that twinkle in his eye—and he would say, “Well, I’m a Gemini, and you’re just seeing a little bit of that hidden side of me!” I think I still saw a little of that twinkle in his eye the last time we communicated on this earth.
My good buddy, Gil, may be dying. He is getting worse each day, fighting a rare, mysterious neurological disorder. I’ve been with him every other day for the last several weeks except the week I went on vacation. It has been at the same time a great and an impossibly difficult experience. Unless he starts to get better, we are down at the end of the road, feeling the cold breath from the Other Side. Gil was being brave and hiding the seriousness of his illness from us all, but since he was admitted to the hospital weeks ago, his good friend Bill, myself, and many others have done our best to stand by his side. Today his rector and people from his church went and prayed with him. What God wills will happen; so be it.
In my old blog, I had a much used category, Riding the Bicycle. I decided when I started this new wordpress blog that I would invent new categories with new names. (Because, after all, I may have grown enough to not be polluting the world with the exact same ideas over and over again.) But today, I couldn’t help it, I just needed the category Riding the Bicycle, because to me—after 4 previous years of blogging—that category means the struggle to live a full life. A friend, John, told me that his metaphorical image for this struggle is juggling many balls in the air. It seemed perfect for him. But for me, keeping MY balance is the issue, rather than juggling objects external to me.