It seems so long ago but at the same time just like yesterday.
Steve was home on his second week of hospice. We were at the week before Easter. We hosted a family egg hunt here at our house. It would be Steve’s last Easter, no matter how hard we prayed.
We were blessed to be the hosts of all the major holidays in 2020. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Back “then”, as if it was so long ago, Steve was still battling back. He helped with Thanksgiving dinner, and made the Christmas ham.
Who knew it would be his last hurrah? His joy of cooking, seeing the entire side of my family, but I’m so grateful that things worked out this way.
In November of 2020, we had actually taken our last trip, to our happiest place on earth… the winery.
Those who knew us best, knew what we were talking about. It was Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC. We went there so often, the employees there became our friends , part of our extended family. So, I’m grateful he got to visit it one last time. It was his last trip.
Now back to the week of the egg hunt.
That weekend, our son and his wife brought us their electric recliner. It was so great when others were thinking of Steve and wanted to help make it all easier for him and me. It was another pivotal week, as all the weeks from that point on were. He only used the recliner once or twice since it quickly approached the point where he no longer had the use of his legs. The doctors told us that as the tumors multiplied, he would lose the use of them. And that was this week, right before Easter.
We were fortunate enough to have my brother’s wheelchair and my brother-in-law’s ramps we had built for his visit 2 years ago. So, we were able to make his watching the egg hunt possible. It took 3 of us to get him lifted into the wheelchair, we rolled him out the front door, down the sidewalk, into the back yard. And of course, it was a damp and cloudy day in Pennsylvania, so he was cold and not his usual self.
Little did I know, this was the last day he would get out of bed, to celebrate a family tradition.
Steve was still eating fairly well. I tried to give him more well balanced meals but made sure to ask him what he was hungry for. It was like he was on death row waiting for that last meal. I didn’t know when that would be, so I tried to keep it interesting. I honored all requests.
The hospice nurses would come Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then on Tuesday and Thursday, they would come and give him his baths and shave him. Make him feel like a man again. And he loved the visits.
In between hospice visits, numerous family members and friends paid him a visit. Some days, he was too tired and had enough of the visits.
This would be the last week that he could feed himself. But, he still ate.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, we were living our dream life. Once upon a time…