Communion Of Dreams

Emotional endings.
May 30, 2010, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Guns, Writing stuff

“Alwyn? What is it, bud?”

My dog was next to the bushes beside the small porch on the SW corner of our house. This used to be a separate entrance for the doctor’s ‘surgery’, when our home was built 125 years ago. Something under the porch (which is about 4′ off the ground level) had his attention.

I went over to see what it was.

First thing I noticed were the flies.

* * * * * * *

Once I had re-defined the “months” a bit, making the mental shift for ‘October’ to be the start of Hospice/Placement in the Nursing Home, everything else fell into place pretty easily.

I wrapped up October. Actually, it was really pretty easy – straight chronological order (for the most part) of all the blog posts and emails from that period of care-giving. The only real trick was to weave the two different narratives – the ones from Martha and I caring for Martha Sr and the ones from John and Kathi caring for Georgia – together in the most natural narrative.

* * * * * * *

“Ah, hell,” I said to myself. There, under the open porch, were two very small raccoon kits. One was already dead, and had been for at least a couple of days. Hence the flies.

The other one lifted its head from its sibling’s body. Shakily, it stood and looked at me. Four weeks old, at the most.

It fell back down.

“Alwyn, sit!”

He sat, eyes still on the raccoon.

* * * * * * *

November and December were just as straight-forward. First, the month of quick decline, of saying goodbye while you still could, while it still meant something with an Alzheimer’s patient.

Then the month of passing, the end playing out in two different scenarios, but somehow the same. I guess it always is the same, really, when it comes down to it.

The only difficult thing about arranging the entries were the tears in my eyes. They made it a little hard to see.

* * * * * * *

The little kit raised its head again, just above the body of its sibling. It looked me in the eyes.

And never felt the bullet.

Alwyn didn’t flinch – my .22 air rifle is powerful, but nearly silent. I leaned the rifle against the porch, put on my gloves, and crawled in after the kits.

They weighed less than a pound each. I don’t know what had happened to the mother – I haven’t seen a raccoon around, nor evidence of one – but she had clearly been gone at least a couple of days.

But they didn’t die alone. The first had its sibling. The other had me.

Excuse me, I think I need a drink. Been an emotional day.

Jim Downey

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment


And well woven.

Comment by John Bourke

I’m sorry that you had to do the ultimate kindness for a half-dead animal. It hurts.

Comment by Karen

Karen, thanks for your support.

But the hurt is balanced with the knowledge that I was able to do it cleanly, and with compassion.

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

A tough day, on so many emotional levels.

But there is kindness and compassion in what you did – not just ending the suffering of the one still alive, also in not leaving them to be eaten.

Comment by ML

[…] July 9, 2010, 1:19 pm Filed under: Alzheimer's,Preparedness,Publishing,Writing stuff As mentioned, the care-giving book is coming together well. As with Communion of Dreams, my Good Lady Wife has […]

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