Monday, February 7, 2011
“What are your thoughts?”
“I’m not bouncing back.”
He admits that his breathing is more shallow. I’ve seen that.
He sits up but not straight, with a curve and head down, like there is not the strength. There is less of him to feel as I rub his back. I accidentally run my hand across the radiation area. “That’s sore,” he says. I can feel a lump, like a hard bruise. I relate it to an area you want to press to feel your own soreness, curious about how it hurts, but not badly. It just is.
Is this a realization moment? He said, “I am so lucky to have done what I have loved all my life. Loved, not love. I heard that. I didn’t mean to. Will you ever teach again?
He tells me stories: The nine year old remembering back as far as he can: when he fell on the floor furnace with both hands outstretched, about 18 months old; when his dad picked him up out of the crib, at about age 2. Earliest memories. Nothing before that, just a blank. Perhaps that is what death is like, he ponders. Blank. No conscious memories. As we know it.
He runs his foot back and forth across the dog’s back, petting him as he lays sleeping next to the bed. A boy and his dog.
Crying, touching, consoling back and forth. A few stories. Some intellectual distancing as we talk about life and death.
Then, out of nowhere, a foul order rises. Oh, no. The dog farted and smells up the room! Leave it to our old (he’s 98 in human years) Lucky dog to add a little levity to a serious conversation. He’s the dog… gotta love him.