It’s now going on thirteen weeks, a whole fiscal quarter, that Ellie is staying at our friends while the friend battles cancer. I had no idea, on December twenty-first, when I urged her to return there for the night, that this would happen. So do I have any thoughts to share?
Ellie is doing what she has to do. While she and I differ on some of the details of her caring for our friend, someone needs to be there. Managing medications is the most significant, but not the only significant, activity.
This is not easy for any of us.
Our friend is in hospice care, has seen her world become significantly smaller than it was, and is significantly less independent than she was. She has someone else in her residence almost all the time. If she wants to go almost anywhere, Ellie has to take her.
Ellie has her own space which is the second bedroom of our friend’s modest condominium. Of course, she has free reign to go anywhere, but the rest of the place is our friend’s. Only in this bedroom can she keep her own meds, toiletries, clothes, books, jewelry, trinkets, exercise ball, Journal, and other items that she uses throughout the course of a day or a week.
I am in charge of meals; this means, of course, that if I want to eat I have to fix the meal ( Fortunately, I absolutely love sandwiches of almost all kinds. ), shop, make a list to be sure I pick up what I need to make the meals I want to have. ( Even just sandwiches require bread, some sort of filler ( usually sausage, but sometimes ham or thin-sliced turkey ), cheese and, frequently, mayo. )
I am also in charge of decorating … which doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, of course, for a few days or a week. But Ellie has a fine sense of both decorum and of the seasons, a very nice way of portraying them and the season has changed since December twenty-first. My blog partner and friend, Benjamin, came by the other day ( We were within ten days of the first day of spring at the time. ) and just casually made me aware of a few things. A Christmas wreath is hanging on the outside of the front door, another Christmas wreath is hanging in the dining room, and Christmas Carolers are set up on the table behind the couch.
These things made me aware of the winter wreath hanging on the outside of the back door and the winter themed mug set hanging from the mug rack in the kitchen.
There are two decorating issues. First, if I put these things away now, the likelihood of one of us being able to easily find them for next year is reduced to near zero. Second, I have no idea what to replace these things with, so putting them away would leave a large empty space in the living and dining areas. Even I will unpleasantly notice that.
And, finally, the house feels empty. After our bird died, I became the only sentient being in the house. The house feels empty. When there is interesting “stuff” to share, it has to wait until we can connect, and it’s not the spontaneous animated face to face conversation we’d normally have. The house feels empty.
I eat alone, I wash dishes alone, I pray alone, I read alone, I go to bed alone ( and almost always way too late … but that’s the subject for another story ). Did I mention the house feels empty?
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