Monday, March 7, 2022


It's Monday afternoon as I write this and Kathy and I have had a decent if low-key morning following a decent if low-key weekend. Kathy mostly naps, although she alternately makes a compelling argument that she's never actually sleeping. All I know is that we're not making enough noise in this room for the neighbors to complain.

Daughter J visited multiple times over the past several days, Kathy is in no particular distress (though is visibly weakening day by day), and I have discovered that the Karmic price of stealing Kathy's uneaten "mehanical-soft" institutional food is a constantly roiling gut and copious, sonorous flatulence.

Speaking of which, that concert I co-wrote that played in Fort Worth last weekend was a big hit, and it actually contains an ode to flatulence called "The Toot Suite."  Why a world class symphony was playing such a proposterous thing is a story for another day. Because eventually there WILL be another day and what I hope are pretty good and unexpected stories from my scarlet past. (I swear I just imagined M. Mitchell Marmel saying "Frankly, Stilton, we don't give a damn" and posting a laughing emoji).

Kathy asked today if I'd been posting to Johnny Optimism and I told her that Johnny had been on hiatus since the new year came in, but that he'd be coming back in the future because that little guy and his friends help me drain a lot of bile from my soul. Plus rueful laughter is halfway to laughter of the kind that doesn't scare people and make them move away from you. Kathy understands Johnny and what he means to me, and approves of the mission continuing. Plus, it turns out that there are a lot of nurses who like sick jokes.

I titled this post "Roomatism" because I'm unsure whether I'm going to eventually leave this facility with a horrible fear of being closed in a room, or a horrible fear of emerging from a room. Currently, I really REALLY want to spend time outside. Although it sounds like this coming weekend that might be a good way to freeze to death in North Dallas. 

And speaking of being indoors and outdoors, I no longer have any idea (did anyone, ever?) what to think about Covid protocols. I guess I'll keep avoiding social occasions where people are unmasked, "social occasions" being defined as being with anyone other than my daughter. Mind you, I'd LIKE some human interaction and support, but I just can't get that from masked people. Maybe I'll learn how to make zoom calls. Whee.

I think I recently saw an article in which the CDC was saying the best way to keep from getting Omicron is to avoid groups of unvaccinated people. But last time I gave a rat's ass, I seem to recall that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people could catch, carry, and transmit the virus. Which would sort of make tht CDC advice unscientific bullshit, right? I don't know...and medical science and I are going to have a pretty chilly relationship for awhile anyway.

Not that medical science would want to cuddle up to me anyway; I think today marks officially two weeks since I've had a shower. I changed my shirt once, though, so I'm pretty sure I'm good. And here's a time-saving lifehack I've developed: just sleep in your damn clothes - in the morning you're ready to go!

Well, I'm not fooling anyone that this is anything other than rambling just as an excuse to spend time with you good people, and raise the virtual population inside this room. I share your comments with Kathy and they all mean a lot to us. Keep 'em coming, keep us in your thoughts and prayers and, if you encounter me in the hall here, keep your distance - seriously, two weeks without a shower. Yeesh.

PS: A special shout-out to Mary the moonlight power walker (Kathy says "hi!")


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Rod said...

Evne if you don't hear them hopefully you and Kathy both get lots of vibes from the prayers that are sent heavenward for both of you.

PA Ray said...

Thanks for the update.
Always appreciate your attitude and humor

Adam Hardin said...

We love you, Kathy, and Daughter Jarlsberg, Stilt. It's been said that Joe Biden could sniff out a cure for cancer: unfortunately, he's either sniffing kids, women, kids and women in ice cream shops, or his own asshole.

geezer said...

My heart goes out to you, and I wish you and your loved ones only the best. Been in a very similar position and know the drain it takes. Keep the faith and stay strong.

Mike said...

Hi Stilt,

You and Kathy are in my prayers daily. I've been doing Exodus 90 since mid-January, which only allows cold showers, so I'm cool with going as long as you can without one!


TVAG said...

There's an element of, "Aside from that, how'd you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?" in your latest post, yet that's not fault-finding.

That you've held up so heroically should be a lesson for those of us without your two-weeks-unwashed-cojones.

Keep the watch and faith--Kathy loves you more now than ever, even if she can't demonstrate it.

Still praying for The Miracle, but also for you and Daughter J's future.


OldTexan said...

Thank you for your update and working with some friends and relative though this part of the story one thing I found out was that folks who appear to be in a comma and out of it at times have very acute hearing, the rest is shut down but the ears are still listening so as the days go on keep the love flowing, which I know you will do. So very sorry Kathy, you and your family are having to go through this, lots of prayers and blessing for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Continually sending up prayers for you, Kathy and your daughter....hang in there...The Lord is with you in the storm and you can rely upon His strength....
There's a great deal to be said for wearing your clothes to bed....eliminate the unnecessary constantly changing....weeks without out a what...a year from now it surely won't matter so don't sweat the small stuff [all puns intended]...whatever works, whenever...that's what matters now....
One night Spring will happen there and you'll wake up to green grass and plenty of outside thing for sure...the sun will come up tomorrow....
Big hugz to all......


Trying every day to ease your pain with good thoughts and prayers.

Sortahwitte said...

Stilt, I'm basically a very crude person. In reference to personal hygiene, I would suggest what we did when I served in the Marines. In the monsoon season, it really rained a lot, but the big downpour was in the afternoon. As the rain started, we would all yell "shower!" and run outside naked and start sluicing the crud off.
I've lived in Texas. I'm sure that's allowed.
Love, Glen and Sioux

Jee said...

Stilton, Kathy, and Daughter J, you are all in my thoughts during day, as well as my morning and evening prayers. I hope the staff and doctors treat you all with much kindness, and that the ones you see the most also have a sense of humor. I still laugh when I remember Stilton’s story about Kathy identifying her name, where she was, and who the president is—fuckhead. She really nailed it! Also funny when Stilton said that should count as the right answer.

jhsilcox said...

Share away, Stilt, that's why we're here.

Bobo the Hobo said...

Two weeks since a shower? Geez, Stilt, instead of deodorant, you might want to try Air Wick, or Janitor in a Drum - at least you would have a choice of fragrance.

puyalluppete said...

Just claim you are a long lost relative of BO Plenty and are maintaining a family tradition. As you can tell from my avatar my origin can be traced back to Dog Patch and there was a cousin called Bathless Groggins and he was a lovable stinker.
I know these are rough times but with your wonderful family and all your fans praying for you and keeping a sense of humor you're gonna make it no matter what.
Thanks for keeping us updated.

Anonymous said...

Stilton, even at two weeks without a shower, I sure would like to give you a BIG HUG right now....a hug for you, Kathy, and Daughter J. You all continue to be in my thoughts and prayers - lately, especially praying that the sores in Kathy's mouth GO AWAY so you and she can talk. I love you guys...I don't comment much, but I ALWAYS read what you post, because what you have to say, Stilton, matters quite a lot. Love, Aunt Liz

jimbro said...

I've got two words for you Stilton: Dude Wipes (or one of the myriad knock off brands that may or may not work just as well).

I'm with Kathy on Johnny Optimism ... he has a great outlook on life and if more people were exposed to him the world would be a better place.

Sharon D. said...

Thank you for your up date. Sounds like things are a little better in that place. Of course you really didn't think it could get any worse. Makes me happy to hear your daughter gets to visit with the both of you. I bet she is feeling better about that too. My mom used to say if she was in a hurry she just took a PTA bath. Puss, Tits and Ass. Maybe you could take one like that. If Kathy doesn't mind that is all that matters. Keep the love flowing through all three of you. You are in my prayers too.

Doctor Deadhead said...

Praying for you both!
Despite being a Doctor, I can feel for you both because I was an end stage patient once, but actually survived. Doctors can be real assholes and really arrogant and they shouldn't be. After all we all become patients eventually and just like anyone else, we are scared and uncertain and the last thing we want is to be dependent on someone who doesn't act like they have time for us. I totally understand the food situation. I was 6 months in the hospital on and off and finally begged my wife to get me something edible. I appreciate your updates and pray for you and Kathy and daughterJ. Don't hold my profession against me.

Garret said...

So many have you in their thoughts and prayers, your family have been troopers in dealing with all the hardballs being thrown. Best wishes, amazing you're able to keep on sending out updates, a bit of therapy I suppose.

John25mm said...

Big Guy you can feel free to ramble on as long and as often as you want. If no one else listens or reads them, I will. I like a lot of the others here owe you for untold hours or enjoyment and thought-provoking insight so reading your rants are way to a simple thing.
I'm sure that many other people like pray for you and your family to have peace through this and strength for what lies beyond.

Anonymous said...

I'm telling you. Grab your electronic device , D J, Kathy, yourself , a big bowl of popcorn and extra IV's and sit together and watch the movie Coco. You'll pass time (hopefully not a lot more gas) and get some laughs and tears. What a better way to spend the afternoon………love you all and still sending magic wishes and prayers………

Joe Drypowda said...

Prayers and good blessings to y'all's. Still lookin' for that Miracle, keep the Faith, we are !! Love you guyz !!

Avonbikerider said...

I guess if you haven’t had a shower in two weeks there really isn’t any need for you to wear a face thong. People will be sure to stay at least 6 feet away and according to Fauci that’s as good as not wearing a mask. My prayers are with you both.

JimC said...

You are an amazing family. We have been blessed by your sharing this searing experience with us. Those of us who have been through something similar, thank you for helping us understand better what we experienced.

You all remain in my family's prayers. We still petition God, if it is will, you all receive a miracle. it goes without saying, you all remain in our prayers.

Paul Donohue said...

Hi Stilt and Kathy.
Today's missive is a little bit lighter and I'm guessing that you're both happier out of the hospital but two weeks? Really? I'm guessing that you're changing your shirt from time to time. But that's really far from important. The good Lord knows that there were times when I was younger that I showed up at work in what I wore the day before and, thankfully, no one ever commented on it.
Spring is coming, even in North Texas. I know that sounds a little weird but so is this year. I hope that there's a window that the two of you can look out of and that the view isn't a roof air conditioner or something of that sort. From my window here in Southern Louisiana I can watch the birds at the two bird feeders in the yard. I used to fill them several times a week but my Annie has taken over that chore now, as she has so many others. My job is to enjoy them and so I do. There are sparrows, English sparrows, doves, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays and more. Next week the hummingbird bird feeders go up to catch the northward migration coming from across the Gulf.
If you don't have a window maybe you can change rooms. Either way, enjoy each other and your time together. That's definitely the best thing we have - time together.
Until I hear from you again Annie and I will be thinking of you and praying for y'all.

Anonymous said...

We continue to hold you, Kathy and your daughter; as well as "staff" in our thoughts and prayers.
The suggestion of "Dude Wipes" might help but honestly; take a damn shower! Showers are one of the true blessings of civilization. You will be better for it.
Blessings to all
Boat Guy

Mikey said...

Regarding food in the hospital, does it really qualify as food? And as to doctors, I had a colostomy reversal in January, 2014, after six months of having my little poop bag attached to my abdomen. I was about two weeks in the hospital and very anxious to go home, had been on liquids only. Doc, who incidentally, was generally a good guy, advised that I could go home if I had a normal bowel movement. I asked how the hell I was supposed to do that on a liquid diet? Guess he really wasn't thinking clearly. Hospitals are just not a fun place to be. I offer continued good thoughts and prayers for you and yours. Glad you still have your sense of humor. And since I have lived in Florida now for close to seven years I have to be grateful to Gov. Ron Desantis who has pushed getting rid of the onerous Covid restrictions. As we said in the service, that's a real cluster, will I ever believe anything that comes from the CDC again? I think not.

M said...

Continued prayers for you, your wife and your whole family.

Julian said...

Love you all, so much. Pray for you often,, and salute the courage that runs through your veins,you and Kathy both. Oh, I guess you haven't heard, being cut off from the outside world, but Vlad Putin has cured Covid, eradicating it from all news stories almost overnight. I expect him to win a Nobel prize, after all, if Obongo can win one, then Heaven knows...anything goes.... ( a cue for you to tap dance a few steps, you and I are old enough to get the reference. )
Much love to all-

Anonymous said...

My father was a career military man. At one point we were stationed in Japan for three years. We were immersed in the culture. A Japanese proverb has stuck over time.

"Fall down seven times, stand up eight."

You've stood up so many times. I pray you will find the strength to continue doing so.

And for the lighter side, regarding your personal hygiene, here's a quote from Zig Zeigler (don't ask...).

"People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing-that’s why we recommend it daily.”


Radar1972 said...

Shower? Meh. Just pretend you’re in the Old West. Seriously, prayers continuing for Kathy and you. God bless.

CAM.Steve said...

Prayers for both you and Kathy. You sure have made it easier for me to understand what Cynthia is facing. Cynthia had what they called precancerous surgery two weeks back and when we returned for Post Op on Friday we were informed that they could not confirm they got it all. The air literally left the room and we have spent the weekend researching everything the Doctor said and provided in writing. We need to thank you for we learned more from your posts than any research we could have ever done. Our prayers and love go out to you both and please know that there are folks who share your pain. Warmest Regards, Steve & Cynthia

Terri said...

Nothing more to offer than storming the heavens with prayers for the three of you. God bless you all and thank you for still posting!

Patrick said...

Prayers continuing….

Bob said...

Many prayers for you and your family

Anonymous said...

Prayers continue for y'all here in Atlanta

JustaJeepGuy said...


Just this morning I read a news item that said that men's "copious, sonorous flatulence" is somehow sexist. Apparently, some "woman" somewhere thinks women can't (or won't?) rip one off as sonorously as men, so they're somehow oppressed gastro-intestinally. I don't pretend to understand the oppression hierarchy, I just wonder where the limits are.

As for the shower, I am currently battling a semi-deceased water heater so I have to either take a COLD shower (our water here is amazingly cold!) or heat water on the stove and shower from gallon jugs. I rarely need to encounter other people, so I am inclined to reluctance to go to the trouble of freshening up for them. In fact, if it will keep people away....

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's a flat out wonderful thing to have this kind of love and support on tap. I turn the spigot and it comes gushing my way. So who needs a shower? And seriously, I'm not trying to set a world record for being disgusting, but I refused to shower in the hospital because when the oncologist visits one minute a day, you don't dare do anything that takes longer than a minute. And yes, it takes me longer than that to poop and ALSO yes, I missed a few mini-visits from the doctors that way.

It's different at this facility, which is essentially the alzheimer's wing of a nursing home. There are no in-room showers (at least not in our room) but there's an ominous door down the hall marked "shower room" that I'm not going in. If I get naked and they grab me, I won't be able to prove I don't belong here.

Even more to the point, I want to be ready to help Kathy with anything at any time. I have, however, started taking off my shoes and socks at night. Not that THEIR aroma does anything good for the room.

I'm a bit beat for individual replies at the moment, but trust me that each message is read, considered, and savored individually. And for those who don't often leave comments (or perhaps ever) I still know you're out there and that you care. Otherwise you wouldn't still be at this temporarily depressing site - and yet the numbers say you're sticking with our little family. We're all grateful for that. Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming!

Mikey said...

Hey Stilt: Company called Assurance makes an extra large 8' x 12" disposable washcloth, maybe give them a try? I used them for the "whores" shower when I couldn't take my usual shower because of a surgery where I couldn't get my sutures wet. I can't stand myself if I go more than a day without a shower. Just a thought.

MsPony said...

Just poking my head in to say that you and your ladies are on my heart and mind, and that this whole mess sucks the big wazoo, and I hate it for you.


Anonymous said...

"vaccinated and un-vaccinated" reminds me of the sign on a bar in Mexico:

Pink Lizard Lounge
Members & non-members only!

I pray for youse guys daily to impart love to each other & enjoy the time you have been given for now.

Ex-Tex Jawja Boy.

Anonymous said...

Most definitely keeping the prayers and positive thoughts heading your way.

Anonymous said...

I am not much of a commenter, to anything, but know that I am praying for you,
I have been following the blog for a long time now, and appreciate your view on the world. Even now, when it is hard, I know it helps to get it out, I have been there with parents, a different hard, but a similar pain. Hang in there, a lot of us are praying for you!

Grandma Em said...

"Plus, it turns out that there are a lot of nurses who like sick jokes." I can confirm that! When I was a student nurse eons ago, in a private psychiatric "retreat" where the wealthy sent their pregnant daughters, there was a sign hanging in the nurses' station that said, "Support mental health or I'll kill you." I guess now that would generate a law suit and might even get you some jail time!

Given the circumstances, you're doing the best you can possibly do, even if you are a little stinky. May grace be with you

mamafrog said...

Well, to be honest I don't know the last time my mom took a shower or bath, so I guess that makes company for you. She is suffering from dementia of some kind, don't know what as she absolutely refuses to go to a doctor. My sister and I had to drag her in to have a cut looked at that was next step away from red lines going up her veins, and spend the next two weeks making damn sure we got her to swallow her antibiotics. I've actually scheduled an appointment every two weeks to get her hair washed and trimmed with a lovely young woman, who also does my hair once a month.

Mom is also a cat hoarder, to my everlasting apallment (?), lol. She had two, one died and she grabbed a sick kitten from the feral gang that lives under her house. Took that to the vet for treatment and fixing. Then it was a calico kitten who will get done in May at a low cost clinic because too many cats. Then during the first of winter she coaxed four feral kittens in the house and was busy over feeding them so that they shit everywhere. Which we she decided to cover with sheet plastic and they also decorated that.

That was the final straw so I had to move in with her. The cats are on a feeding schedule and better food (still not cheap), the cat food is kept in my bedroom so she can't feed them at 2:30 because she is confused about time and I'm now sleep deprived. I'm trying to keep her on a schedule of regular meals and activity so she will sleep most of the night. So far it's mostly working. I've given up on doing much of anything except reading my email and watching videos when I can.

Shall we talk about the screaming temper tantrums that crop up occasionally (who forgot the memo on those)? My sister made her spend one night at her place because mom's heat was out (feral cats in the attic tearing up heating ducts) and got her her sanity drained and apartment destroyed until mom decided to walk to a nearby restaurant she could remember. Sis had to call her ex husband to get mom and take her home. Mom has pulled a few on me but I'm far meaner and will slap her back if she tries anything. Gently, mind you, since mom is 85, I don't put up with that kind of shit from anyone. I've already dealt with someone else who had dementia worse and I have no patience left.

Oh, and mom keeps trying to coax the outdoor feral kitties in and they aren't having it, though I do feed them too. I think that's how she got the cut on her hand. Life is getting back to that old Chinese (apologies here) curse, "May you live in interesting times.". I'm truly done with those times and am ready to crawl back in my bedroom at son's house and cuddle with my dogs. One of them, my oldest girl had to be put to sleep this year because of masses in places that don't tend to work well that way so, yeah, had her since she was a little fat puppy and she lived 13 years. My little boy, who is a drama queen (vet's term, he seriously said that, lol) of the first order decided he was going to argue with my son's new dog. She gave him a what for and that was a lot of kerfluffle.

On the fun side, mom and I take a daily-ish walk around a little pond near our local library and count geese and ducks, and cuss the poop! And i can clean out a lot of other stuff my mom has been hoarding because she doesn't remember it was there. A little here and and a little there and the house is looking better. It is definitely making me try to clean out my stuff more now too.

Sorry to put all this here but maybe you can laugh at our cat-tastrophe and just imagine the chaos going on. My love to both of you and I hope you can keep laughing if nothing else.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Frankly, Stilton, I don't give a damn. ;D

(Well, you asked for it!)

Been taking my mind off the cares of the world by spending time up to my elbows in toy train guts. Just finished fabricating an axle bushing for a prewar Marx steam engine from brass tubing. Obviously, I've been watching far too many restoration videos.

"The Toot Suite" reminds me of PDQ Bach's composition of the same name. Any relation? Asking for a friend. ;D

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Whot Mikey said.

Bet the place has sani wipes. Strip for your best beloved (she's seen it all) and do a thorough wipe. If an aide walks in on you, tant pis. They've seen worse, What's the point in getting to our age if you cannot go a little crazy when needed? Get Amazon to deliver clean skivvies: that ought to be good for a laugh.

Here's a funny story my husband wrote, on one of our hiatuses (hiatii?) from the comic:

I gave up comments for lent. Except here. Still praying.

Hyzenthlay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hyzenthlay said...

Dear Stilton and Kathy --

You are always in our prayers!

Showers are overrated. I once, honestly, knew a fellow who was allergic to everything (he claimed) and that was his excuse for being a clinical narcissist.No, I didn't buy it, either. I guess he never noticed he didn't keep an allergy to things he really liked.

I explain all this as prelude to a story about hugging this person and him smelling exactly like...NOTHING! Everyone smells like something, but not this guy. It was creepy! Better to smell like something than a vacancy.

Give your lady love a gentle hug from me (if allowed; I hope it is!) and your daughter, too, when she comes by. I'll read my husband your letter. He won't be able to give his favorite commentary on "The Toot Suite," since I didn't feed him any beans today. (Autocorrect has a sense of humor. It corrected you musical piece to "The Toot Shite.")

Now to prove I'm not a robot by trying to figure out if a fraction of a pole holding a traffic light counts as a traffic light.

All our love and prayers, Bill & Patricia K.

PS: I didn't remove the -- you're used to glitches, so I won't explain.

Rod said...

For God's sake Stilt. Get a bucket of hot water from the maid and lock the door; give Kathy a floor show while you do a wash-rag shower. As Dad was adamant about when I was a kid, wash your face first and the lower levels last. And please don't post any pics, OK?

Anonymous said...

Good morning Stilton and Kathy....
As always...continued prayers for you both...for strength and peace. Stilton: once again you are doing what you are called to do.
It’s not comfortable or fun but being there is exactly what our Creator wants us to do (that’s my opinion anyway!). You are a solid rock...okay- maybe a stinky one ! I said before....prayers for strength and endurance.

Wayne in Indiana

Jerryskids said...

Continued prayers for you and yours, stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for easing of sufferings and for your family as well.

Snark said...

Showers are optional. When your priorities change there will be plenty of time for them. As long as your Dear Kathy doesn't mind, we don't either. Keep your mind together as best you can; apparently you're managing to do that. This walk through the valley will end and you will be able to get back to whatever will pass for normal then. I don't really know what "normal" is these days.
Peace to your both.

Pattymelt said...

Thank you for posting. All the Jarlbergs are in my prayer. I wish I had words enough or power enough to make this all better. I guess we just have to wait for Christ to shine his light on Kathy and you. God bless you.

Sue said...

Been there. (Though not during covid. Think I would have lost it!) Hardest thing ever. Prayers for you and Kathy and Daughter J.

alan markus said...

A little off-topic, but the symphony stepping out side of it's wheel house reminds me of this performance.

St. Peter's Male Voice Choir Drogheda and Musical Director Edward Holly perform Arcade Fire's 'Intervention' with the Lourdes Youth Choir live in the TLT Concert Hall on the sell out Annual Christmas Concert 2013.

Side note: I think if the Lourdes Youth Choir performed at the White House it would be a disaster of epic proportions. So much young girly hair to sniff, so little time.

For those not familiar with Arcade Fire, this is the original.

Nancy Dickerson said...

Kathy is still thinking about YOU and what you and your creations mean to her. SO glad that your BO has not kept Daughter J away from her mom's room. They have shower facilities in some of those places, but the idea of wearing one's clothes to bed works just as well. Just more or less stopped using a walker this morning. Now to remember not to bend, twist, jump, or otherwise go bumping into furniture and dogs. Wish a great big ray of sunshine could come into Kathy's room and lift the spirits of all who are connected. Sending loving thoughts and patience.

mamafrog said...

@alan markus I really hate good music, it moves me to tears, and now I have a wet keyboard! Thank you for posting that!

Lee The Voice said...

Haven't bathed? I'd offer to come down and give you a spit bath, but that's pretty much impossible with a mask on.

TrickyRicky said...

Stilton, please rest assured that your internet family will remain steadfast in praying and sending you positive energy. We all care greatly for you and your family, and I think you understand that. I sincerely hope that this broad based, if ethereal, network of support helps you during these severe trials. I think that I can speak for many here when I say that your strength and humor is an inspiration to us and gives us hope for ourselves as well.

Jess said...

There must be some physical law dealing with flatulence in a hospital room. It happens 10 seconds before a nurse appears, has enough time to fill the room, and guarantees the nurse will immediately come to the side of the bed where the worst is found.

Coffeypot said...

Few things feel as good and satisfying as a good, loud, wet fart. It is fun seeing others face and reactions. You two and J are still in my prayers and feel for your circumstances. The Covid 19 bullshit is hurting those who need the contact and loving feels that visitors bring to those in need. But you have a whole world of virtual visitors who care very much. Perhaps someone could sneak in a cold beer or two for you.

Shelly said...

It was so great to see a post from you this morning. I think about you every day and pray daily for you, Kathy and Daughter J. When you get our age, showers on a daily or even every other day are not useful. I'm trying to keep as much natural oil in my aging skin as possible. Of course, as mentioned above, I take a "whore's bath" every day and hit the areas that cause the most stink. Also useful is sleeping in your clothes. Of course, being retired, my clothes are comfortable lounge wear. So, win win.

Mama Frog, thanks for sharing your story. It seems you too have the gift of humor in a very tough situation. My heart goes out to you. I took care of my elderly mother and now I'm approaching that season in my life. I love humor and hope to maintain mine until the end.

Maoz said...

{A PTA bath? Well, I'm assuming Stilt's P-less and lower-case t, so that pretty much leaves him with an A bath, doesn't it?}

Kathy -- BIG, BIG long distance hugs!

Daughter J and Stilt too!

And Stilt, if you do decide to Zoom -- puleeze don't go Toobin on us!

Love you all

Maoz said...

{...well, okay, I guess the P could stand for something else...}

Colby Muenster said...

We Muensters are still a-praying for you Jarlsbergs.

Regarding bathing, just take off your clothes and pretend you're on an episode of Naked and Afraid. Wait.... there' the whole "If I get naked and they grab me, I won't be able to prove I don't belong here." thing.

Never mind....

millard fillmore said...

If you haven't had a shower in two weeks,you might be the next Sean Connery.He was known for merely changing clothes without any silly distractions like cleaning himself up.He was also known for being soused to the gills most of the time.You will,of course,have to buy an Astin Martin to complete the look.

John the Econ said...

"...there's an ominous door down the hall marked "shower room" that I'm not going in. If I get naked and they grab me, I won't be able to prove I don't belong here.

Okay, that wins my "belly-laugh of the day" award.

Glad that some degree of your humor remains intact. So we know you're still sane.

Renewed prayers for you all, and that you can retain your humor in the days to come.

Dan said...

Something I learned in the Army: If you can't shower or take a spit bath, a change of underwear is a wonderful thing.
I also found out you can often find cheap three-packs on sale if you can't do laundry.


..there's an ominous door down the hall marked "shower room" that I'm not going in. If I get naked and they grab me, I won't be able to prove I don't belong here.

That made me laugh, you haven't lost all your humor.... Probably pretty wise however!
Still praying for you and your family.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- I started a comment here some hours ago and it disappeared so I said to Hell with it. And by "disappeared" I mean I'm old, tired, fat-fingered, and I'm using a toy bluetooth keyboard while squinting at the microscopic screen of my cheap-ass Android smartphone. So accidents happen.

Regarding my sense of humor, I expect it to be hanging around in some odd way. As readers of Johnny Optimism know, humor and darkness have sort of a symbiotic relationship in me and at this point my brain is constantly churning input into comedy whether I want it to or not.

A case in point: the Registered Nurse with the hospice came in to see how we're doing (let's skip that part) but she was so taken by my personal charm and (in her eyes) celebrity status that she said "Of all the important clients I've had in hospice, you're my favorite. And SOME of them were country singers!" I know I'm going to Hell (actually already there) so I didn't hesitate to ask "Dolly Departin'?"

And yeah, that will definitely be in an upcoming Johnny cartoon.

Kathy had a quiet and drowsy day. We shared some good memories and listened to some recordings of the Sherman Symphony Orchestra from the days it included Daughter J on the violin. Time passed slowly, sometimes painfully and sometimes with a bittersweet beauty.

And I made an interesting discovery. When an aide came to the room for a visit, I asked if she'd sit with Kathy for five minutes so I could just stand outside that long and breathe. She was happy to do so and I stepped outside, took a deep breath of fresh air, and looked at a world without walls. And within seconds, I could tell it was a bad mistake.

It turns out the pressure I was trying to take a break from is also the pressure that's holding my pieces together. Going out into the world was like a diver coming up from the sea floor too quickly and getting the bends. So I hurried back inside, knowing a little more about myself than I actually want to.

On a positive note, when that aforementioned aide told me that I need to take care of myself, I didn't punch her. I think she was saved by the fact that she was on crutches. No, really.

Linda Lee said...

It's amazing to me that even now, you can make me laugh. And cry. I love your spirit, Stilton, and your love for your wife is inspiring and beautiful. Thank you for being you.
It's a blessing to know you, even if only through the internet. Praying for Kathy, you, and your daughter.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Linda Lee- Thank you for the kind words and prayers.

Anonymous said...

You said above: "It turns out the pressure I was trying to take a break from is also the pressure that's holding my pieces together. Going out into the world was like a diver coming up from the sea floor too quickly and getting the bends. So I hurried back inside, knowing a little more about myself than I actually want to."

THAT my friend is an EXCELLENT way to describe the Call-of-Duty, Courage, Dedication, Love, Reliability, Work Ethic that sometimes gets us through many things. Very well said. You're a good man.

But in longer term, Get-Aways must also happen; they're important when we get reasonable opportunities. Cardiologists advise that. Again: Learned a hard way from experience.

Tim Gilley said...

Stilt, This is my first comment here. So yes, there are many of us who read of your family's crushing struggles and quietly cried over people we love and never met. May we all meet in the next life.

Snark said...

Stilt my friend, your brief respite from the room is the essence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Your return to the stress within the room did re-stress, i.e. re-compress you. Combat isn't required for the condition. Now that you are aware of what's ahead of you, prepare for that eventuality. We'll be around to help as we can.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- Kathy has declined overnight and is terribly weak, but minimally responsive. Things might happen today or might now. The helpful chaplain dropped by the room and lost all of her style points by standing next to the bed and asking me (on the other side of the bed) "SO DID YOU GET ALL THE FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS MADE?" This after already establishing that Kathy can hear. I gave her the universally recognized gesture for "shut the fuck up," which ended that line of discussion. Then she started speaking to Kathy and I'm afraid she sounded scripted. Disappointing.

Kathy is running a bit of a fever; apparently temperature control goes when things are starting to shut down. And now I've got to return to her bedside. I'm doing okay. Prayers and positive thoughts, please.

Terri said...

My heart hurts for you, Kathy and daughter J. We all feel as though you're our friend and wish we could be by your side as you are going through this agony. I am praying that you have the strength to endure this saddest day.

Anonymous said...

Lifting you and your wife up in prayer, Stilton. May you feel God's presence with you. Something to perhaps ponder, if/when time allows:

Velveeta Processed Cheese Food said...

We are with you Stilt. Take time if you need to, or whatever suits you best.

John the Econ said...

At this point I assume you've left nothing unsaid to each other. That is a blessing too many people don't get.

I'm not too worried about Kathy, because she is now as comfortable as possible and will soon know peace, free of pain and suffering. My main prayers are now for you, as the real challenge is to the living; I pray for strength, and peace. Focus on her; share the love.

It's all about love.

Mr Jimm said...

In all the frequent troubles of our days
A God gave comprehension - more His praise
In looking sky - and heavenward as duty
In sunshine and in virtue and in beauty.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, typo it's

A God gave compensation

June said...

We're all still here for you, hope you can feel us caring and praying. We'll all still be here when this is over, too.

Dear Heavenly Father, hold Kathy in the safe, secure palm of your hand, and let Stilt feel the comforting weight of your hand on his shoulder as they go through this, one of life's hardest times. Amen and amen.

Bobo the Hobo said...

That last posting from you triggered my inner Italian, Stilt. Say the word and I’ll personally kick that “chaplain’s” ass.

Standing beside with you in prayer.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Cranking the positive waves up to twelve... (hugs)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's 3:30 pm now, Kathy is sleeping peacefully, and the hospice service is dilligently ignoring us. As opposed to the alzheimer facility service which ignores us without dilligence. Except for one angel named Herlinda who is easily the most competent person we've encountered in two weeks.

It's quiet and peaceful here in the room which will make it all the more impressive when my heart and/or head explodes. Thank you all for being here.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Stilton - Long as it isn't the penguin on the television set exploding... :)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@M. Mitchell Marmel- There's never an inappropriate time to remember Monty Python lines. I admit that earlier tody the scene playng in my mind was "I don't WANT to go on the cart! I'm HAPPEEEE! (Thud)"

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

That should say "earlier today" up above. Damn toy keyboard.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Stilton: Heh. My mother, towards her final hours, also quoted that scene. Now you know where I got my odd sensayuma...

OldTexan said...

This stuff all sucks, nothing good about having to go through this for you or Kathy, my heart goes out to both of you and Blessings for Kathy, you and your daughter as you go through this time. May our Lord Bless all of you.

chipmunk said...

Still praying for all of you several times a day.

Bobo the Hobo said...

Hours before he went to join Mom, Dad was home with hospice. The nurses kept an eye on his pain status and offered meds whenever he indicated he needed them. The duty nurse asked Dad if he had any pain and when he didn’t respond, I repeated, “Dad, do you have pain?” He looked at me and pointed - I laughed like a jackass and gave him a hug.

My dad was Legend.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's Wednesday night here, and the day went more smoothly than I expected, with Kathy mostly sleeping peacefully. She communicates a (very) little, sips water from a spoon, but otherwise isn't taking in sustenance. Her fever went away but is back now, so I've got some moist towels draped on her neck and forehead.

She got her standard sleep meds for the night, but it's going to be a long night for me wondering if something will happen if/when I doze off. I keep expecting to wake one morning the way I did THIS morning - with the 6 am crew trying and failing to wake Kathy to give her some pills.

"Kotty...Kotty..." they say. Then they shake her harder. "KOTTY? KOTTY YOU HEAR ME? KOTTY YOU WAKE UP?!"

Eventually Kathy roused from deep sleep, but it felt like a spooky precursor of things to come. And yes, these are GREAT thoughts to help lull a guy to sleep.

Of course, I won't be doing that until late. I'll keep an eye on our girl as long as I can keep my eyes open.

Thank you for the support here today and in the days to come. It means a lot.

Maoz said...

You keep an eye on your lovely bride; we're keeping both of you (as well as Daughter J) in our prayers.

Thank God there are people like Herlinda.

We love you all!

zsleepwalker said...

No words, just a regular lurker offering my bit to the gathering of internet friends wishing you the strength you need.

mamafrog said...

I wish I could slap those people for you Stilton, except Kathy needs her meds. Please take care of yourself so you can help her, love to all of you and prayers.

CenTexTim said...

Continuing the positive thoughts and prayers.

Stay strong, brother.

Colby Muenster said...

I count myself blessed that Mrs. Muenster and I are not going through what you two are going through. And I really can't imagine what I'd do if some jerkwad came in the room asking about funeral arrangements in that situation. That person has all the tact of a Russian invasion.

May the Lord comfort both of you and give you a peace beyond all understanding.

For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26.

Priscilla Garamella said...

Still sending prayers in your direction. I can't even imagine what you are going through but I pray that God will give you and your family the strength you need to continue this long journey and grant Kathy her much needed peace. Please know that while we may be silent, we are still here in the ether world thinking of and praying for all of you.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's Thursday morning and blessedly quiet just now. Kathy is sleeping and very weak. She has pain if moved, but otherwise doesn't seem to.

I'm tired and confused and frustrated about Life in general and hospice in particular. As I understand it (which should disqualify whatever comes out of my mouth next), I'm paying a hospice agency (through Medicare) to watch the nursing facility (which I'm paying for, but Medicare would have), but no one on staff is really watching Kathy because I'm in the room. So I've managed to find the most expensive and least effective way to provide care for Kathy at this critical juncture.

Apparently if I'd chosen home hospice, the hospice agency would be providing 24/7 care by now. But since we're in a 24/7 nursing facility (ha!) Medicare forbids them from doing jack shit. Well, unless the facility clearly fails to provide Kathy with critical pain management when the crap hits the fan. Meanwwhile, the 24/7 care here consists of one set of vitals daily, and people from distant lands asking me which meds they should give Kathy.

In fairness, I don't think things would be much better if we'd gone for home hospice. Kathy isn't that aware of her surroundings at this point and couldn't have taken much pleasure from being at home. Plus, I'm starting to think the hospice agency's "24/7" care is likely a phone number.

I'm thinking that in the near future I'll take up the hobby of writing scathing YELP reviews and defending myself from allegations of libel. Glad to have YOU with us, though.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, I am so sorry you are going through this. This is so far different that the various experiences I've had with hospice services over the years and definitely should not be the way it's going down. I don't know if it's because things have gone downhill that much in the last decade, or if it's where you are or what the deal is. I wish there was something I could say or do.

Other than to keep you both in my prayers today. I know I'm not alone in doing that here.

Igor said...

I'll go ahead and say it: It won't be long now.
You've been a real help to your wonderful wife, especially now. You and Daughter J are doing all that you can. Really.

If you sneak a peek behind you, you will see ALL of us standing behind you, supporting you. We've got your back, you are all in our prayers.

Death is but a part of the Journey. While there are people on the shore waving goodbye and saying, "There she goes!", others are standing on another shore and waving and saying, "Here she comes!". We will all take that Journey.

Say strong. We all love you.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's just after 5 pm on Thursday, so I decided to take my morning pills just now. "Time of day" doesn't mean what it used to.

It's been a pretty quiet day here apart from my shrieking nerves. Kathy has been sleeping and has only said a few words. It's getting difficult for her to drink, even from a spoon, so we may start adding some thickener to the water to make it an easier to swallow gel, not to mention a horrible dessert.

I vented at the hospice agency (albeit politely) today. The thing is, for me this is a giant life-changing immediate emergency and so - especially after the hospital - I sort of want a flurry of activity even though we already know the end of the story. But what would that flurry consist of or accomplish? For those who work with death, we're apparently not at what they would consider a critical juncture because Kathy is not in obvious distress outside of fading from this world. So waiting and watching is what makes sense, but it's hard.

A good thing that happened today was after my flailing communications with the hospice agency, a young (30's?) trainee named Richard - who I'd met before - brought me a Whataburger lunch and just stayed with me to chat awhile. I talked until the burgers were cold, and it's to Richard's credit that he pretended to like 'em that way. We just chatted about unimportant things, but the human (and humane) contact was very welcome. And the ice cold Whataburger was the best thing I've eaten in months - literally.

At one point, he told my clearly-shaky self about the danger of caregiver-burnout and with a completely straight face, I told him "I think caregiver-burnout is a myth." He was at a loss for words until I explained that this is how my sense of humor works, what with my sitting right in front of him as a smoldering ash-heap of burnout. He was amused once he "got it." I'm sending him a copy of the Johnny Optimism paperback to help prepare him for his career in hospice.

I've got some classical music playing in the background but everything "relaxing" sounds like a damn dirge. If I hear one more piece in a minor key, there's going to be Whataburger going everywhere. HOLY CRAP - the Pandora station just started playing "Danny Boy." I just told the Alexa device to play some James Galway stuff. Odd but true: most flute music is less depressing than "Danny Boy." As are most funerals.

Tomorrow will mark the end of our second week here, and the exciting arrival of the dreaded "weekend shift" here at Happy Acres. If Kathy needs assistance, I can pretty much promise there isn't going to be a half-hour wait for it if I have to personally drag people to this room. I've got Screaming Man and Bird Woman in Wheelchair Who Hits on my side now, and I think we can win any rumble I start.

Thank you for putting up with these rambles and for putting up with me, but mostly for being a presence that I can actually feel propping me up right now. Keep those prayers and good thoughts coming (and know I'm sending others back your way).

mamafrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mamafrog said...

Pachebels Canon in D on a loop is surprisingly relaxing and calming, here's one version though I hope you won't find it "dirge-ish". I would recommend bag pipe music but that is an acquired taste, and definitely not Amazing Grace, which has been over done and beaten up.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Mamafrog- I listened to Pachelbel’s Canon just before reading your comment (played by James Galway). And I love bagpipe rock, but that will be for another time.

John the Econ said...

Caregiver burnout certainly is a very real thing. But here's what you may find an ironic twist on that. My mother was an RN who in the earlier part of her career worked ER and general nursing at a hospital. It took less than a decade of that work for burnout to get her. She spent the rest of her career as a director of a convalescent hospital. As she saw it, most of her patients had lived long, full lives and there was far less tragedy in their being there and passing than the younger, not yet in the prime of life tragedies she saw daily at the general hospital. I often volunteered at her hospital when they were short-handed and did "pet therapy" with my dog decades before pet therapy was a thing. So I've had a bit more than average exposure to this sort of thing. Again, it saddens me so much that you've had to endure what you have. It simply is not right. I wish there was a way I could fix that. I am so sorry.

All I can suggest is to keep ahead of Kathy's discomfort with the meds. That's so vital. We just need her comfortable now.

As I've said before, I'm not particularly afraid of death. But I am very scared of being helpless and in pain. I'm praying that Kathy won't experience any more of that. It's good that you're there to watch for that. She needs you so much right now. I know she'll thank you later.

When I sat with my father as he was dying, I was lucky that the facility (another convalescent hospital) had accessible wifi, which was pretty cutting edge at the time. Also cutting edge was the relatively new technology of streaming music services. The one I found was (which doesn't exist anymore) It was a mostly classical service, and for the two weeks that I spent almost exclusively in that room, I can honestly say that that station saved my sanity, if not life. (In fact, I wrote them a note to that effect) Keep looking. There's a suitable service or channel out there for you.

One problem you clearly don't have that I did was gaining weight. During the two weeks with my father, my brother-in-law would come in the morning to sit with my father while I'd go to a supermarket for some maple bars (my "comfort food) and pick up a Wall Street Journal and then my sister's house for a shower and short nap. In the evenings, leave for an hour to take my WSJ down to a nearby Costco to sit and read while I consumed 3 pieces of pepperoni pizza. (my other comfort food) After two weeks of that routine and mostly just sitting the rest of the time, I put on nearly 20 surplus pounds, which over a dozen years later I have let to lose. I call it my "dad weight". It was a worthwhile price to pay to make sure that he was never in any discomfort.

I know I'm rambling here, but that seems to be what you need at the moment. You're in our thoughts here. God bless.

Terri said...

Stilton, You are the most devoted and loving husband I have ever 'known'. Kathy is so blessed to have you. May you feel peace from all you did for her in these last difficult months. God draws near to those who grieve. Look for Him in unexpected places, you will see Him. I'll be praying for you all.

June said...

My mother died of cancer in 1973 at the tender age of 47. There was no such thing as hospice then, just hospital, where they wouldn't give her a pain shot until four hours had passed because it might be bad for her health - wouldn't want to overdose now, would we? Well, yes, at that point we surely would, thank you! I was 20 years old, and it was me and my dad (the one in the white tie and tails in my dream, much later) watching and waiting for many hours.

So, your hospice experience isn't very good but I guess it's better than nothing. I'm really surprised, I always thought that hospice was a bastion of goodness for the end time, and I've never heard anything bad about them... well, until with your amazing luck now I have. I know it's where I want to be when my times arrives, because at least they can keep me pain free and it should take maybe a little load off my loves ones.

I'm so glad you got a hamburger! It is truly the little things. Dad and I would take turns with the vigil, and during my non-vigil time I'd get the in the car and find some rock and roll, turn it up all the way, and sing my guts out. And maybe scream a little.

Hang in there. Much love to you and Kathy from out here in the void. Praying for you every day, sometimes several times.

Dan said...

Prayers continue for you, Mrs J and Daughter J. And God Bless Richard.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Here's a version of Pachelbel's Canon I think y'all will dig...


Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- Thanks for sharing. It may be some time before I can truly know how bad it's been here versus how bad it feels. I encountered the language barrier here again tonight - big time - and it really frustrates me. I can ask people to repeat themselves five times and still have no effing idea what they're saying. None. But apparently they're doing the jobs that Americans won't.

You suggest "keeping ahead on the meds" but that was the specific topic of the confused conversation I cite above. "She cont take de pills? We geev hair morphine."

I did find an Amazon music channel with popular classic music that doesn't make you want to cut your wrists, so I've got that playing on a continuous loop. Handy tip: it was suggested to me that background music helps reduce the chance that someone on morphine will have a bad trip.

And no, I don't think I'm gaining any weight right now. The trick will be not doing it when I get home. My drug of choice is barbecue chips.

@Terri- Thank you for the kind words. It's possible that this hospice experience would be different if I was letting aides come and spell me so I could leave for a shower or store run or whatever. It just turns out I can't do that. I can't leave her at all right now. Which seems to puzzle people here. Poor souls.

@June- I'm so sorry about your mother and what your family went through. Again, to be fair I may need to reevaluate this whole hospice experience a long time from now to figure out what was internal and what was external.

As far as your "singing in the car" strategy goes, I'm looking forward to eventually cranking up The Who's "We Don't Get Fooled Again" and ripping my vocal chords out.

@Dan- Thank you. And Richard was indeed a little blessing today. I'm trying to be better about noticing those things and saying "thank you" to Whoever's listening.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@M. Mitchell Marmel- I'll check it out, thanks.

Jill of all Trades said...

Oh man. Every night I was refreshing your comments from your other post, but forgot that I should check for a NEW post until just now. So I wanted you to know that I’ve been here very day even though you haven’t heard from me. I’ve been sending love and prayers from my heart the entire time. Hugs.

Rod said...

The long Earthly struggle by my wife's sister ended last Tuesday night. She was stuck in first phase Hospice AT HOME before that for too long and over the weekend. Family and Friends could not handle it well enough.

Early Monday morning we as family including legal authority agreed and I with no personal legal authority but an an-site, calm, firm & clear male voice "representing" told hospice that she needed to be transferred to 24x7 full time pro hospice care ASAP... meaning THAT DAY or we would install other arrangements THAT DAY; and they would all be dismissed.

It took them about an hour make the plan, ~five hours to transfer her; and she spent her last 32 (EARTHLY) HOURS nearby in the care she had wanted, comfortable. She passed comfortably, satisfied and without drama. A very courageous, sweet-hearted and ALWAYS DELIGHTFUL and generous lady. I was fortunate know her for 55 years; it should have been longer; she was the youngest sister. My wife is holding together OK but is understandably upset.

Good thing: Even with travel difficulty Best Friend made it in time to visit just before she passed. We just had to draw the line with Hospice.

Best to Kathy, you & your family Stilt and I'll get back her later; I must be gone for while; but you all have it together.

OldTexan said...

I would prescribe an occasional Whataburger as needed to keep your spirits up as you continue along your care taker path with Kathy even cold there are healing powers within each Whataburger. Your pulling 24 hour a day duty as often as possible is also a great way for you to handle this incredible task and your sharing your experience with those of us who have enjoyed your sly, wry humor for years allows us to send more prayers and blessings to Kathy, you and family, Blessings and Love being sent out to you all in North Texas.


Perhaps other readers can tell you the exact name of the app you can download onto your phone, which you simply speak and it translates into the other language, perhaps that would be somewhat helpful in bridging the communication gap?

Still praying for you and your family.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- It's Friday and we've officially been here two weeks. The oncologist said that would be our stay "at the most" and it doesn't seem he'll be far wrong. Kathy just sleeps now, and gets morphine only if she exhibits pain - which she really doesn't. Sometimes leukemia doesn't cause pain as much as just using up all your energy. ALL of it. And so we wait.

Last night I didn't go to bed, preferring to just sit bedside and hold Kathy's hand "just in case." Time well spent, but I'm mainlining coffee today.

The hospice nurse was here a short while ago and thinks everything is going really well (and I suppose it is, within this hellacious context). She also reminded me that on the other side of this, part of the hospice package is up to 13 months of bereavement counseling after they determine whether my grief is "low, medium, or high." I don't even have words for how I feel about that kind of quantification.

@Jill of all trades- I usually send out an email message to alert people to a new post, but have no idea if I did this time.

@Rod- Oh, I'm so sorry brother. My heart aches for you (who knew there was still room in there for more ache?) and I hope you and your family find healing at some point.

@OldTexan- Now that I know what a Whataburger can do, I may never send another Hallmark "get well" card.

@Kelly from WI- I like the way you think, but unfortunately these people aren't speaking their native tongues, they're speaking pidgin English with accents so thick that no supercomputer could decipher them.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, you're doing everything right.

When I was in hospice with my father, we'd just hit the 2-week mark. I was spent both physically and emotionally. The last evening, I literally thought I was about to lose my sanity. My father's breathing had been getting louder. I was unable to sleep. I had never been so raw. I laid in the cot next to his bed, and prayed like I'd never prayed before to be able to get through this, because I felt like I was about to break. In the middle of praying, I fell asleep. Prayer answered.

Somewhere around 3am, I woke up. Don't know why I woke up at that moment, but I felt renewed. I sat up, and held my father's hand. I again told him that everything was okay.
A minute later, he drew his last breath and was gone. It was over.

It was no accident that I was able to rest when I really needed it, nor when I woke up just before the end.

Just hold her hand.

Sortahwitte said...

We're here, brother. Love, Glen and Sue.

Flugelman said...

Haven't posted before now but have been sending best wishes and prayers along. I went through the hospice scenario both with my step-dad 12 years ago and again with my mom 3 years ago. A night and day difference between the two occasions. I'm left to wonder if Kathy might be in the same facility as my step-dad. That was a total mess and I won't go into details except to say there are many similarities. Mom's hospice experience was a godsend, she was able to stay in her assisted living facility here in Carrolton and was kept pain free with family by her side.

I'm somewhat in your area and would be happy to assist with anything you might need.


Dan said...

Regarding the staff members speaking "no known language." I was working IT at an Army hospital. One of the mid-level sergeants came down to get some clarification about something, or put in a work order, or just complain about something.
Whatever. I started to feel like I was a no-spoken-lines extra on a road show version of West Side Story. Tried as I could, I just couldn't understand what she was saying or what she wanted.
She went and complained to the boss. I was the bad guy because I couldn't understand what she was trying to say.
At least I didn't start singing "Puerto Rico, my heart's devotion, let it sink into the ocean..."

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- it's coming up on 5pm Friday (the start of the dreaded "weekend shift") and I'm at a damn low ebb. It's simply a matter of waiting, watching, listening, and loving now...and all of them hurt. The "experts" are properly vague ("every case is different!") but my heart is telling me things could happen at any time.

@John/Flugelman- Thanks for the offer, but I don't need you to do anything for me. As far as the facility we're in, I'll say only that it's in Plano and has a name which seems increasingly ironic to me.

@John the Econ- I'm definitely holding her hand, and will again do so through the night if necessary. That "sleep" thing you spoke of sounds nice.

@Sortahwitte- I know and I appreciate it.

@Dan- It's not a race thing with me, but there is not a single Caucasian person working here except at the management level. Staff is 90% black, 5% Asian, 5% hispanic - and no one is a native English speaker. This is a real problem and a critical problem in a healthcare facility - but the odds of it ever being addressed are zero. Surely the problem exists only in my old racist ears.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

A quick addendum to the above: from Friday evening until Monday morning there is NO management here. Ergo not one native English speaker.

John the Econ said...

Hang in there. I'll make an effort to check in over the weekend.

If I thought it possible, I'd DoorDash you some Whataburgers.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- A nice thought, but my appetite has taken a nosedive.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Stilton: Understandable, but get something into your system anyhow, even if it's only Ensure or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't make it better and doesn,t make it worse.. It's just the way it is. At the very very least , be thankful you are able to hold Kathy's hand and visit with her during the past weeks and during her final hours. You don't have an AH governor who is transferring Covid patients into the facility where your brother, husband and father is. Not even able to see him for weeks, touch him, hug him or be be with him as he is dying. Kathy will be joining my brother and they will be looking down on us saying they are the fortunate ones as we continue to live a world that has become totally unhinged. May God bless you, Kathy and your daughter. As i've said before, noone, absolutely noone can take away the wonderful memories you two have created. Stay strong and a huge hug to you both.

Dan said...

@Stilton. Didn't think you had a race thing. Not a race thing here, either. But it was irritating that it was *MY* fault that I couldn't understand her.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Dan: Idiocy and ignorance know no race, creed or religion. If communicating effectively is a vital part of one's job, then it is incumbent of one to be able to communicate effectively...

Of course, nodding agreeably helps on occasion. :)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@M. Mitchell Marmel- I won't starve. Even though Kathy can no longer swallow pills or water, the crack staff here keep brining her meal trays with "mechanically soft" foods, which means stuff that is naturally soft (scrambled eggs) or chopped up (carrot salad). So I'm in no risk of passing out OR gaining weight.

@Dan- Oh I knew it wasn't a race thing with either of us. But yeah, it's OUR fault we don't understand hyper-inflected pidgin English. Sheesh.

@Anonymous- I'm so sorry for what happened to your family. It seems to me that an awful lot of asses are going needlessly unkicked for the chaos, disruption and death caused by the creation and politicization of Covid. I want to see meaningful punishment doled out to a lot of people. Not that it can ever bring back those who were sacrificed to bureaucratic overreach and idiocy.

@M. Mitchell Marmel- "Nodding agreeably" is what hearing-impaired folks like me have to do entirely too often, and it makes a lot of people think we're just simple. I'm sick of it.

@All Readers- It's 9:30 Friday night and I'm subjecting Kathy to an endless monologue of memories while holding her hand under the assumption she can hear me. She can no longer move or open her eyes. But I hope she hears me every time I say how much I love her (and how much she is loved by our daughter and others) - because it's getting said a LOT.

mamafrog said...

She can definitely hear you sweetie, keep saying those words of love to her. It will help you both. My husband went suddenly in his sleep one night, but he heard me say I love you before he did, words of comfort to me now.

Jill of all Trades said...

She can definitely hear you. ❤️

June said...

Oh, she can so hear you. Much love to you and so many thoughts and prayers. We are all still out here, promise.

John the Econ said...

She knows you're there. She will always know you're there.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers - Saturday morning. She's gone. Painlessly it seemed. Time for me to be quiet for just awhile. Thank you.

OldTexan said...

More love, prayers and blessings for all of you. Stilt, you stood your watch and shared your love for your wife and family with all of us and you did well. Perhaps it is time now for quiet, rest and sleep, Blessings sent to your family this morning.

Anonymous said...

Rest in eternal peace.

Murphy(AZ) said...

Oh, my Merciful God. Stilton, I am so sorry for you and your family, beyond words. May there be peace for you in the coming time. We will be here for you when you are ready for us. Our prayers for you continue.

Dan said...

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. Amen.


I am so sorry for you and your family. Peace to you and your daughter. RIP

CenTexTim said...

My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family, my friend. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through right now. I’m sending you my prayers and condolences. May you find comfort and peace during this difficult time.

mamafrog said...

I’m so sorry, but she is at peace and I hope you and your daughter are too. She went wrapped in love. Many hugs and prayers to you and daughter J.

Snark said...

Prayers and condolences to you and Daughter J. Your walk through the valley has delivered her to her light. May you find peace and solace in the knowledge that she is in comfort and that some day you will hold her again.

Rest easy now. Peace.

June said...

You fought the good fight and never wavered. Kathy is resting, time for you to rest, too. Many prayers for you and your daughter.

John the Econ said...

I'm sorry.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba b’alma di-v’ra

chirutei, v’yamlich malchutei b’chayeichon

uvyomeichon uvchayei d’chol beit yisrael, ba’agala

uvizman kariv, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach, v’yitpa’ar v’yitromam

v’yitnaseh, v’yithadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal sh’mei

d’kud’sha, b’rich hu,

l’eila min-kol-birchata v’shirata, tushb’chata

v’nechemata da’amiran b’alma, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya v’chayim aleinu

v’al-kol-yisrael, v’im’ru: “amen.”

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu

v’al kol-yisrael, v’imru: “amen.”

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world
which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;
and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored,
adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He,
beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that
are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights,
may He create peace for us and for all Israel;
and say, Amen.

Fish Out of Water said...

So very very sorry to hear this. An understatement, but so very, very heartbreaking the news is as well. My deepest condolences on your family's loss.

TVAG said...

Good Night, Sweet Princess, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

(By way of a much better writer)

Velveeta Processed Cheese Food said...

I'm sorry for you and Daughter J, but know she has been released from her suffering.

Terri said...

I wish you peace and comfort as you grieve. I am praying for you all.

Rod said...

Condolences Stilton; and know you did your best and Kathy knew it. All those around you know it.

And DO NOT in any way feel guilty about feeling some relief. It's well earned and has nothing to do with love.

And since your job is not fully over... please be very careful in nearly everything you do; careful & deliberate & patient with yourself. Big things & little things. Your focus will be impaired.

Anonymous said...

No words.


Igor said...

Et Lux Perpeta, Kathy. You are now in the hands of God.

Stilt, may you and Daughter be bouyed up as well by The Holy Ghost. May God comfort you and sooth you and ease your emotional pain. We are ALL still with you, my friend.

Alan Donelson said...

Sure puts perspective on the assertion "prayer works", for which I myself now need no more, having prayed fervently, passionately, heart-felt for both people and dogs and even a squirrel, each and every time to no avail. GOD calls, souls answer, their time not ours to know.

Human hubris, I suppose, perhaps a fake teaching, or a teaching bereft of technique -- how to pray effectively. With all those who pray posting, and all their prayers, including mine, still Kathy's demise. How freeing for her soul, how discouraging for those us still incarnate, awaiting our turn.

Professor Confessor Doom had it right just before he departed. GOD DAMN ONCOLOGISTS!

M said...

My deepest condolences to you and daughter J. May Kathy rest in peace and may the light of God shine upon her.

M said...

My deepest condolences to you and daughter J. May Kathy rest in peace and may the light of God shine upon her.

Elam Blacktree said...

There is a saying in the Talmud: Do not comfort a mourner when their deceased lie before them. In other words, grieving is natural, and there is little we can do but to just be there for whatever needs the family has.

Alava ha-shalom (may the departed be at peace).

With great sorry and respect.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you and your family.
Kathy's in a better place now.
I lost my wife of 30 years to cancer.
She died at home surrounded by family & friends.
Hospice came once per day to help and it was helpful, but no substitute for the care from loved ones.
It took about 3 years of grieving before I started to feel somewhat normal again.
Thank God for my dog, who has also since passed.
Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.
Rejoice in your grieving, for it is proof of your love.
The more you love, the deeper your grief.
Church has helped me more than anything, Jesus is the best counsel of all.
Thank you for your excellent care for your wife.
Love covers all sins.

Dster said...


I am so dreadfully sorry for your loss, I can’t (and, frankly, don’t want to) imagine the pain that you are going through right now. Thank you for allowing me to follow you and your beloved Kathy on this journey.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss Stilton. You have brought us all so much joy over the years. I feel a need to repay you somehow and to help you and Daughter J through this. Kathy's strength and resilience through all of this is a shining star, you do not see it now but you will. I hope you and J find peace as quickly as you can.

TrickyRicky said...

So very sorry for your loss. Kathy's suffering is over, although I know that is small consolation at this point. Our prayers continue for you and your daughter.

TrickyRicky said...

BTW, don't forget to "spring forward".......couldn't help myself.

chipmunk said...

Deepest condolences for your loss, Stilton and daughter J. May God comfort you and bring you peace as you work through your grief. Don't be surprised as the waves wash over you, but take all the time you need to heal.

animal lover said...

Your family has my sincere condolences on Kathy's passing. One of the hardest things is to know it was coming and nothing you can do will stop your loved one's transition. Even when you think your prepared for them to leave, when they really do, it hits you harder than you ever expected. Be gentle with yourself in the coming years. Grief is like a river it ebbs and flows.

Peace on Earth said...

Animal Lover you are so right.
I felt it was my role to protect my wife, and how to protect against cancer AND the medical system?
I was outgunned and inexperienced. Crushed me.
In 8 1/2 years of fighting the cancer she never felt the cancer, only the dreadful treatments.
We did our best, and women are tough, she was.
The medical system is good: at both scaring us & goading us, with hope of "cure", (like the media)
I wish in hindsight I could've steered her clear of both.
We're all dying, of something.
We can't control our birth, but we can choose, a great death.
Only Jesus Christ & God offer a better alternative to the nonsense: Satanic Globalists offer, here.
True Life, is the narrow road.
God Bless you all.
Don't give up, you've survived and are still here, for a reason.

Rod said...

After sleeping on it and because we will have memorial service for my wife's sister tomorrow morning... I want to AMEND my poorly-phased statement above.  The one about guilt and love: It is all about love too; just don't feel guilty about having a sense of PERSONAL RELIEF.

There's a lot to be said about "Dignity in Death" laws being made in more or even all states;  And NO, I did not say federal law.  But there are three big obstacles: the Elderly & Dying Care Industry, Churches; & Vote-whore politicians.
Everyone needs some relief when many of these life-processes come an end.  We had a suicide by a leading church member not so long ago; he decided to go out that way and not by the other longer more drawn-out way. And there was in-fact a lot of understanding about that too. Others were very upset. Just that act... and some methods used are a problem and often there's no clear explanation, warning or good bye.    What usually happens then is just more "Turning Away* as if some major foul has been committed; and no one wants to really  talk about our "System".     [ * Referring to "On the Turning Away"  by Pink Floyd. If you don't know it; please look it up. Most think it's about Charity;  but I think it's also about good Governance.

Kirby said...


I have been following the sad journey of Kathy, you and daughter. Wish I would have known her and you. You have made it easy to converse as if in such bad times you found amusement and I believe you used it to keep strong.

May God bless, I will hopefully converse with you in the future. Do take care.

Willie said...

Very sorry for your loss. Nothing left but family, friends, and fans, old and new.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. May you and your daughter find comfort in your faith and the knowledge that you loved your wife well.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry, Stilton.
I didn't know Kathy was in such bad health.
Praying for you and your daughter.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I cherish you. I can't imagine your pain.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Dear Readers- Thank you for the thoughts, support, prayers, and virtual hugs. All are needed and appreciated.

My brain is a poor thing to try to think with, let alone write, but let me remark on a couple of comments here...

@Alan Donelson- Even though I'm a newcomer to prayer, still not religious, and things didn't go our way, I plan to keep on praying and being grateful to those who pray for us. Why? Because I felt (and feel) benefit from it; something kept me on my feet longer than I would have thought possible. Perhaps because the prayers I made always started with gratitude for the good things that happened on even the worst days and follow up praying for skill, insight and compassion in Kathy's doctors and caregivers. It allowed me to process my fears in a more positive way, which was critical in keeping me from complete burnout. In its own way, that was a minor miracle.

@Rod- I understood you perfectly and agree completely. I have personal relief that this horrible marathon has come to an end, while simultaneously feeling devastated, traumatized, and as empty as a desiccated Jack O'Lantern. And among other things, I'll be looking for ways to add my voice to those calling for legalization of more humane ways to die. I took my beloved dog Penny to the vet for the "pink shot" of death to spare her unavoidable suffering. And it killed me to do so, but that's what love demands.

For Kathy, I wasn't allowed to do that nor was she allowed to request it (though she did, repeatedly). When the oncologists gave up and made clear that the only choice left was death, we should have at least had the loving and compassionate option our pets have. But no - we were sent to a dorm room in an Alzheimer's ward staffed by people with unintelligible accents, where we had to wait - just wait - for Kathy's leukemia to spread like a wildfire and kill her. For all but the last two days, she was cognizant and aware that her life was over but her suffering wasn't (emotional, to be sure - morphine was available for pain, but she didn't have intractable pain other than the sores in her mouth which robbed us of the chance to talk). A loving husband shouldn't have to spend long nights watching his wife's labored breathing and have to wonder if he should kill her to set her free. Nor should I have to question - as I do - whether it was strength or cowardice that stayed my hand. There has got to be a better way. (Also, I love that Pink Floyd song)

On a more general note, Daughter J and I are very slowly starting to piece our home back together (things got understandably neglected over the past few months), after which we'll start the longer and slower work of trying to heal and create new lives while hanging on to the best parts of the old as much as we can.

Thank you for being here and for all the support. I will actually be funny again in not too long, though I may need to create a poll so you can all help me decide who the hell I'm going to be: I've had it with politics and cancer, and this blog is not going to be about my journey of grief (though some of the ones already out there - including one by a member of the Stilton's Place community - are great and valuable resources).

A decision for another day. Like so many other decisions on the horizon.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Stilton: Follow this advice, and come back when you're ready. We'll be here for you.

OldTexan said...

My older brother, now 87 years old, lost a spouse to death years ago and when I was going through some rough changes in my life over 40 years ago my brother gave me this bit of hard won wisdom. Don't rush your emotions and be careful of decisions that need to be made in the first year after a life changing event, expect an event of this magnitude to require a year to give yourself time to reset your compass, go through the emotion stuff including anger and grief because that's the way stuff works. Anyway that advice helped me keep my head on straight during some of my life events. Things don't have to make sense all of the time and all that stuff and Blessings for you and your daughter as you all take all of the time you need to rest and work through the process of this devastating loss of Kathy.

Fish Out of Water said...

Heartily agree with OldTexan's comments. Exercise care in what decisions you will need to make and avoid any major financial decisions for a year at least.

During my father's last days (prostate cancer) he slipped into a coma and I found myself wishing his life would end quickly. Not because I had any patricidal motives, but to see his suffering come to an end.

Rastapopoulos said...

Continuing Prayers and Kind Wishes for Daughter J, yourself Stilton and departed Kathy.

For several days I couldn't leave my comments due to a technical problem at my end. Guess that worked out as the ongoing prayers and wishes needed no announcement.

With sincere appreciation of your kindly letting us tag along during Kathy's journey and our thanks to the others who have shared their insights and experiences.

It is humbling to take life's instructions this way, as we all have the journey to complete.

Personally am sorting through my thoughts and feelings about the "pink shot" exit plan, as a friend has started a dismal final stage of his journey which largely will leave him in the know while his body will do a prolonged death dance predicted to take many months. The giving away of belongings leaves me wondering if a self-inflicted "pink shot" is being considered? And my usual clearly discerning moral compass is absolutely spinning as I work my mind around what I suspect.

In the scope of our years of existence and the endless scale of our eternity, the periods of pain and fear (which may be completely different timeframes) are perhaps reduced in importance. They say it averages out.

But then we do not live the "average" but feel only in the moment, so perhaps that is all wet too?

God bless Kathy and Godspeed Daughter J & Stilton, as they have yet more of their earthly journeys to complete.

And again thank you for your sharing and the sharing in other comments. So much to take to heart.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@M. Mitchell Marmel - I'll listen to that later today. At the moment I'm nursing a headache (not alcohol-induced, sadly) and my first cup of coffee. Just the sound of the word "jazz" scares me until I wake up a bit.

@Old Texan- Good advice and taken to heart. I'm definitely not trusting this brain with any major decisions any time soon. I'm setting no timeline for my grieving nor any rules about its nature or expression. I've already accepted the notion that the rest of 2022 is going to suck really badly, although there will also be the occasional ray of light. Fortunately, because of who Kathy and I were, our financial planning and legal papers have already been handled and kept up to date, and our financial advisor and lawyer (two people) will help me through the bureaucratic steps. I've also accepted that a world which already made little sense to me is going to make no sense at all for quite awhile.

@Fish Out of Water- I'm now a confirmed advocate for "death with dignity," which is to say euthanasia. I'm also aware of the myriad ways politicians, ideologues, assholes and idiots could make that a nightmare. Abortion is supposed to be "safe, legal, and rare" but we all know it isn't rare because of the factors I listed. I don't have any answers, but I also don't have any doubt that a way to prevent what we just went through has to be found.

@Rastapopoulos- There is also something called "Swedish Death Cleaning" in which an individual, not necessarily dying or even ill, gives things away simply to preemptively save family members or friends from having to eventually sort through everything. I'd been intending to do it for years (Kathy has always been good about not accumulating or holding on to too many things) and now, when my strength returns a bit, I'm going to start doing that with my own belongings. Not because I plan to go anywhere yet, but because my perspectives have changed on what's important and worth hanging onto, what might be meaningful to Daughter J someday, and what is just going to be a pain in the butt for her to deal with.

Of course, your friend may indeed be thinking of taking a faster way out. And if his prognosis is sure and relationships in his life are tied up, then don't judge him harshly (or at all).

@Readers- Just so you know, there's a lot going on here which part of my brain wants to turn into (and already perceives as) pitch black comedy, but the rest of my brain is saying "shut up for awhile!" I will continue to see the world in "funny" and funny ways and we will be making a transition into that happier space for us to share somewhere down the line.

mamafrog said...

A through house cleaning and sorting is a good panacea for grieving, discovered this with my grandmother's death. It allows your brain to roam to the memories you want to keep, the ones too much to deal with, etc. It also allows for a healthy exercise when you just want to lay in a corner with a blanket over your head. With warmer weather on the way exercise outside, walking, can help too. I think the worst part of grieving for me was getting rid of the digital footprint for my husband, something I am going to have to take care of so my kids don't have to.

Sharon D. said...

My words are the same as many above have already said. I feel for you and your daughter and tears are in my eyes. I know that does not help you but as said above grief is a very long procedure. It does get easier and then boom it hits you again. Please just hold on to each other and know you both are still in prayers. Oh I bought some Clan MacGregor. I would be honored to lift a drink with you. Take care of each other we all love you.

John the Econ said...

Gratitude is the key to peace & happiness. Glad you have found it.

As for the "assisted" issue: I was in the same spot with my father. During the meeting where one of my siblings and I instigated the hospice process (my father was in no condition to be involved) the hospice administrator spoke of taking care in the administration of morphine so that he wouldn't accidentally expire prematurely. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, then saying "Well, we sure wouldn't want that to happen now, would we?" The notion of that being a primary concern just seemed so absurd.

During the latter portion of the experience (which I described above) where he was long since asleep and I was watching his tired body struggle to breathe, I contemplated what you spoke of. Had I done that, nobody would have questioned it. It just would have been all over days sooner than it inevitably was. I wasn't strong enough. That's the only aspect of the experience that truly haunts me years afterwards.

Also concur with the advice above: Don't concern yourself with big decisions right now, or for the foreseeable future. Good long term decisions really aren't possible when you are as exhausted and raw as you are today. Yes, you're in for a hard year. But you'll likely find in 6+ months from now that you'll start to have a much different outlook on your life and your future than you do today. Get some rest. Get healthy again. Commiserate with Daughter J. In time you'll have a new outlook and come out of this a new man. The hole left by Kathy will still be there, and will always be there. But at least you won't be lost in it. I'm now praying that your pain will subside, and that eventually you'll see a new future.

And I have no doubt you'll be funny again. Humor is good medicine.

Get some rest. You know how to find us when you're ready.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

I never really got wakes/sitting shiva until we did it for my mother in 2001. It really is a good way to handle it, though...

As for the "pink shot", well, I was the one to tell my RN brother-in-law "Remember! She said no heroic measures!" as he was about to start CPR. I'm still second-guessing myself on that one twenty-plus years later (she passed about two weeks after 9/11)...

And for heaven's sake, let the black humor roll! I read a sheaf of condolence e-mails at her memorial service, then pulled out the last one. "My name is Dave Rhodes..." Got a decent laugh out of the crowd, too. ;D

The Inukshuk said...

Dear sir,
While I knew your wife’s outcome was determined, I prayed that at least it would be painless.
Your outcome, however, is about to be commenced. You have great talent to observe and pick out the incongruous and outlandish that hid amongst up. In some way, please continue. Of the 40 or so blogs I read, I have always looked forward to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Please take your time to grieve, but please come back to us in some form. Lefty Lucy, I fear, is running amuck.
With all of my prayers for you, your daughter and your beloved wife,
I remain,
The Inukshuk.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

I came by after praying for you to let you know that I still was, since you said it helped. I am so sorry for your loss, Mr. S.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you.

JimC said...

She fought the good fight. Even when expected death still hits very hard. You are never ready when it happens. My family and I will continue to pray for the soul of Kathy and peace for you and your daughter. God bless all of you. May Kathy rest in peace and in eternal light.

Jill of all Trades said...

I have thought alot about assisted passing for those with terminal illness or low quality of life and have come to the same conclusion as you, as long as it is always the free will of the patient only, and nobody else. I remember as a kid thinking Dr. Kevorkian was an evil Monster. Not long ago I randomly looked him up and read about his work. It rendered me speechless really. Still kind of does. It seems like such a sacred time of life and the choices of the dying seem they should be honored. That is all.

Please take your time as you grieve. There is no timeline. There’s really no “time heals” either. And that’s ok. What you had together was wonderful, and nobody can take that away from you. Love you all.

Maoz said...

May Kathy rest in peace, and may her memory be for a blessing.

Deepest condolences to you and Daughter J. Lots of valuable wisdom from experience in the comments above. Take all the time you need, in whatever way you need to grieve. We are with you.

Colby Muenster said...

Kathy is dancing with the angels!

May God calm your spirit in the weeks to come. Mrs. Muenster and I will keep you in our prayers. We will also look forward to the time that you may decide to resume blogging. Should you decide that your heart is just not in it anymore, we understand and fully support whatever direction you go from this point.

June said...

I'm so sorry this happened to Kathy and your family. It is a terrible time, I remember my experience with this so well, even after so many years. It's just really hard. There are no fancy words for it.

I do remember my sister and I (brace yourself) at my mother's funeral, and someone said something so utterly ridiculous, as people do who have never been through this, and we got just hysterical, laughing until we were literally crying and peeing our pants. I know now it was just stress boil-over, but the looks on our relatives faces... Well, that just made us laugh all the harder. And then, oh, the guilt!! The guilt is the only thing I regret about that episode, in hind sight. People who have just gone through all this deserve the maximum amount of slack.

See, we all have a little dark humor in us.

Many prayers to you.

Rastapopoulos said...

Sage advice Stilton.

In Two Parts - The Story of Bill

Would seem a bit of döstädning - "Swedish Death Cleaning" or what sometimes is simply called "putting one's affairs in order" should be a cyclical part of one's life.

Pretty certain my friend will like a dying dog, seek out a dark quiet place away from others and will later be found most likely propped up at the base of a tree. Whether aided or pure nature, TBD and really his business.

About 25 years ago a wonderful photographer and musician friend took severally ill, and was hospitalized.

Soon the word got around that his condition was such that his hospice experience would be in the hospital room and rather quickly concluded.

Few of his friends would visit, but I went up regularly with a preschool son in tow.

Taking Bill books he wanted to read (mostly Tom Sharpe "Blott on the Landscape" series that he wanted to read while still could).

I didn't hold very much back from my preschooler, as I told him that we were doing "library deliveries" to my friend who was so stuck in hospital that pipes and tubes had grown into him. Lots of amusement as the youngster would ask various nurses the questions of a young mind.

Usually Bill's wife would be there.

A week or so in, we arrived and Bill asked his wife to take my kid to the play area, as he wanted to talk.

With a straight face he suddenly asked me "if I would throw him out of my airplane, with his wife's help of course!"

Stammering and trying to figure out how bad of form it would be if I grabbed my kid and ran, he eventually quietly added - "of course I will already be cremated."

There was such a tremendous mutual giggle fest, that the floor's Nurse Hatchet came in to scold claiming "you need to careful lest you pull out the IV and hurt yourself" which we took as even more reason to share our mutual mirth loudly.

By this point his wife and my kid came to see what was up. She knew her husband was going to mess with me, and in front of Nurse Hatchet asked "Well when ARE you going to throw Bill out of your plane?"

Movie actress horror was on the Nurse's face, as I think she imagined I was going to spring Bill, take him high up and pitch him out for a free fall demise.

Before Nurse Hatchet could summon reinforcements, Bill's wife clued her in on the post-cremation part, and even got a snicker out of the hardened nurse.

A few days later I was asked to pick up the books I had brought, as quietly the evening before hand in hand with his wife, Bill had died.

I attended Bill's funeral and the wake, where I told people I was the hitman Bill had wanted to hire, but nature got to him first.

It takes a bit of doing to actually drop ashes. Of course there are rules, but those got stretched to meet Bill's wishes.

The trouble is done wrong you fill the plane up with blown back cremated remains.

I quickly determined that my personal plane was unsuitable - too fast and the only window that could opened in flight was too small.

So I rented a trainer (Cessna 172 for you pilots out there) where the windows could be opened enough in flight.

Doing some research I found there were designs for a "ash launcher" which I had built.

So up we go. Bill's wife had the launcher out the window on her side, as she had asked to do the honors.

Anonymous said...

Part Two

Over the target area, and she is alternating between crying so hard and laughing uncontrollably that she couldn't do it first pass. Nor second, or third or fourth...

So I asked her could I do the honors, which she agreed.

Well my launcher was not ambidextrous, so I was going to have to do this reaching across the plane and putting the cremated Bill in the launcher.

So pass five, out goes Bill, but I had lost my grip on the wrappings and rather than being feathered out he went down the launcher in a big old lump, which hit the tail making a sudden huge puff as if we had been hit with Anti-Aircraft fire!

Approach to land communications included a request if we wanted to call for an "emergency" as people on the ground had called the airport to report this plane circling a spot until part of it blew up!

I mumbled that it must have been one of those optical illusions or maybe a bird, blah blah blah.

Landing I stopped by my hanger first, as I wanted to see if good old Bill had dented this rented plane. Fortunately he hadn't but there was a bit of scuff.

Taxing in the lineboy, offering a knowing wink, declared "Dang, you must have gotten pretty close to a Gull and the wings must have dragged on the paint and people saw the bird get popped."

Bill's wife is still alternating between sobbing, almost crazy laughter, and melancholy. The lineboy says loudly to the folks who had gathered around, "lady, it was only a gull..!"

Insisting to pick up my out of pocket expenses, Bill's wife handed me the compensating cash, which I held up and said "Hey guys, meet you a Jack's Bar and this will prime the pump!"

Recounting the aerial adventure was trivial in comparison to this impromptu "second wake" telling "Bill Stories."

I am thinking that there was no way Bill was going to go out without leaving a mark on something, so the plane scratching was predestined.

And for all of us we found a way to let misadventure and loss become mixed up with excellent remembrances and camaraderie so much so that we healed at least a scab over our feeling of loss.

Until this "second wake" at Jack's Bar I hadn't fully grasped the deep import that a good "celebration of life" offers people. Highly recommended.

I don't know where the launcher I built ended up, as it was loaned around the region, at one point with a retelling of the "Throwing Bill out of the Airplane" story.

Thank you Stilton for your huge sharing with all of use, and the reminder about finding some "Swedish Death Cleaning" space in our lives.

MAJ Arkay said...

When Father-in-law died, Mother-in-law boxed his clothes immediately, but put the boxes in a closet and waited. She said that was so she'd have room, but still have his stuff in case she wanted something of his. She gave all away, without opening a box again, just a couple months later.

Years later, MIL fell in her independent living apartment and hit her head. We were four hours away, and they couldn't find her DNR. By the time we got there, the hospital had started doing exactly what she didn't want done. We handed over the DNR paperwork, but it still took them three days to acknowledge it. By then, the doctor had shown us the brain scan and the massive hematoma from which no one recovers. He recommended we stop all further "treatment," as if we'd never handed over the DNR. I'm fairly sure the attending staff heard me mutter, "Stop the treatment she never wanted and for which you have the DNR?" because they moved very fast to unhook everything.

While Spousal Unit was on the phone with his brother who lived across the continent, I held her hand. We knew she had already gone to be with FIL, but I wanted to let any residual part of her still stuck in there to know she wasn't alone. About 10 minutes after they unhooked her and gave her a big morphine shot, she was at peace.

The hospital must have been concerned that we might sue, because they never sent any bills afterward. We wouldn't have, but we did want to get their lawyers into a room for some serious education; they were the ones who had kept the "treatment" going all weekend by not bothering to come in and let the staff know it was okay to stop when we gave them the DNR.

Back at the independent living apartment, management was very kind and helpful. We were, however, bound by the contract to vacate her apartment within 30 days, not near enough time for the sons to decide what to keep and what to give away. They did their best, giving a lot of her artwork (she was a painter) to the facility or friends, taking more home, sorting out what furniture went to brother's home/kids, and packing up three sets of bone china. Brother took a small truck full; the rest went into our garage for sorting after both brothers had time to grieve.

That was in 2014. We lost brother in 2019, and there's still stuff to be sorted. As family genealogist/historian, I've been pulling out the occasional item, asking Spousal Unit about its history, then consulting with Sister-in-law, nieces and nephew about shipping it up to them, selling or donating. It's been easier for Spousal Unit to let something go with time. Mostly down to photographs; we're scanning/uploading to Ancestry, and they'll be available even if the originals are lost.

All that rambling comes down to: Dear Stilt, take all the time you need before making decisions. If you need room, pack some things away, but don't let it go until you're ready. Do little things only, like empty and clean a drawer, then put back what you want to. Move the rest to a "think about it" box, a give away box, or toss it. Then relax and rest.

Do the same thing next time you have a little energy. It will all add up to a neater, cleaner home without exhausting you.

Later, open the give away box(es), verify it's give away, then open the "think about it" box(es), move some into the giveaway box as apt, then give it away.

Rest now, get your physical strength back, and know we're all here for you. We have big shoulders and lots of towels for you to cry on. And may happy memories bring you and J comfort.

Anonymous said...

I look for your posts every day, but this is the one I dreaded seeing the most. Sorry for the loss of your beloved Kathy. My prayer is for you and daughter J to heal in mind and soul.

Anonymous said...

We are so sorry for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter. Donating blood… what a beautiful way to carry Kathy’s memory forward. Thank you for sharing her lovely photo.

Barry A Bank said...

As one who has walked in your shoes may I offer my sincere condolences on your loss.

Rastapopoulos said...

Expedited cremation services.... thinking my brain recoiled at the very idea...

Again condolences, our prayers and wishes.

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