Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Eve like No Other

Dear Family and Friends,

I wasn't going to write tonight because the most precious dialogue I had with Francis at suppertime had drawn me so deeply within I wanted nothing else but just to sit with it. Which I did. Even the hum of his new air mattress' motor couldn't disturb the rich silence of his room.

Yet I'm writing now, since Francis' night ablutions a little while ago broke the spell anyway, and because I know our young cousin who called me is grieving. I want to reassure him that even though Francis slept ALL DAY except when he surfaced at mealtime, all is well.

Francis' need for more sleep or what looks like sleep, led me to wonder if his passing will come sooner rather than later. But after our "dialogue" as he kept calling it, I learned he only took "the first step" helped, as he repeatedly told me, by our dialogue itself.

Fully present to him, savoring, cherishing his full presence while I can, I didn't want to lose a single drop of it. Our intimate supper dialogue was not so much about our love as about the upcoming end of his journey. Yet it revealed his love, -- his concern for me. I assured him he need not worry about me, and that his concern is more a sign of his instinct to protect me than a justified fear.

I told him it reminded me of my frail mother's question one day only months before she died in 2000 when she was convalescing at our home. Looking up at me from the couch with her beautiful sweet face, she asked: "Who's going to take care of you when I'm gone?" That was unconditional love talking. Her question will nourish me to the day I die.

I may sometime share what Francis said. Right now it's too precious an intimate exchange to broadcast.

Yes, this is a Christmas Eve like no other because of that greatest of gifts. But there were other gifts today too:

Francesco and Susannah brought Francis ginger cookies, (after Francesco saw mention of Susan Christian's,) and Winnie delivered a big basket of macrobiotic staples on behalf of the cooking partners and their spouses. Hap our contractor put up a big mirror inside the chickens' coop to keep them entertained when they're literally cooped up in upcoming stormy days. Dottie Smith gave Francis a therapeutic touch treatment and bestowed good energy on me too while I slept thanks to Pamela's and her daughter Erica's coming which provided me with a refreshing late afternoon nap.

With the descent of darkness, Francis' room is made magical by the blue 8" square Christmas lamp lights a neighbor couple made (which they can see from their own window!) The magic extends outside too where loops of white Christmas lights illuminate the Canadian hemlocks directly within view of Francis' bed. Shawn Clark of Clark Tree (who cut down a tree for us in the fall) saw to that when he strung them up a few weeks ago -- using his cherry picker!!! One moment I saw him at the top of the fully vertical cherry picker, higher than our house! And the next moment he was hanging by his hips forward bending while draping the lights over the branches. And it wasn't a helper who manned the cherry picker either! It was he alone who
maneuvered it by remote control!

So, dear Charlie, be at peace. We are fortunate to have a warm home and good supportive friends. The biggest gift of all for me tonight was to hear Francis say he is "very happy." And so am I.

PS I have to admit that with Francis' withdrawal increasing, manifested by hours and hours of sleeping today, (literally all day except for surfacing for smaller than usual meal "courses,") the opportunities to read him your messages are decreasing, unless tomorrow is different (and it could well be.)

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