My husband’s illness took a grave turn on February 24. Going into renal failure was the cancer’s way of letting us know that it was winning this game, and it had just hit one out of the park. My husband has been more or less bedridden ever since and it has been one day after another of fighting the pain, the nausea, the depression, the sadness — the routine that we were beginning to realize was not going to go away.
Yesterday, the pattern changed. After sleeping most the day, my husband woke up with an appetite. He mustered his way to the kitchen table and actually ate a few bites. The term is “sips and bites”. That’s how the Hospice nurses refer to it. As one’s condition declines, eating becomes sips and bites, and then just sips, and so on. But today, there were a few more bites than usual, and it lifted my spirit to see this.
After dinner, I asked my husband if he felt like sitting outside and watching the sunset. Yesterday was a glorious day, weather-wise, and I knew that the sunset was going to be beautiful. For the first time in weeks, he nodded in the affirmative. We sat on our old, ratty rattan loveseat and held hands. We really didn’t talk. He examined every inch of the yard from where he was sitting and mumbled, “It looks pretty good.” We watched our dog run around with her squeaky toy — in total bliss that we had joined her outside.
We watched the sky turn bright as the sun slipped below the horizon, and then beautifully pink, and then ice blue and grey as the sun disappeared. My husband sat for a good thirty minutes this way. I could feel my breathing relax, as I took in this welcome time. I tried with all my might to just “be in the moment” and not wonder when the pain would return. I whispered, “I love you, honey.” My husband squeezed my hand and said, “I love you very much, honey.”
And that was it. That was our 7th inning stretch. A true gift from God — a moment to stand and stretch, breath the air, and know that win or lose, we are a team and we’ll do it together.