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The kidney doctor went to see Mike today and called my sister Mary later. He said he had told Mike how serious his condition is and asked if he wanted to be removed from dialysis. Mike said no. He wants to stay on. The doctor will respect his wishes.

I feel relieved because the great feeling I have is that Mike would not accept that he is dying. I sensed this in my father, who argued bitterly about the size of his bed and his room (he wanted us to spend money he had deposited with us to get him a larger hospital room) near the end, who, I think, never really saw it coming. My mother was more realistic yet still determined to squeeze every minute there was available to her. Suffering from throat cancer, a 100%-fatal disease, she chose to endure difficult chemotherapy so she could hang on a little longer.

One thing about my mother that I laughed at yet later admired: she lived very much in minutiae. Years ago I received a letter from her that had been delayed by the post office for more than a year, yet it read as if it had just been written - constant themes of organizing cupboards and sewing tablecloths and installing yet a newer sound system permeated her letters. She wrote of photographing the bird feeder just outside her window (does that sound familiar?) and even sent us the proof. Her life was full of learning and moving on. Learning to design kites, learning archery, learning sewing, learning cooking, learning embroidery, learning crochet. She acquired each skill and would occasionally pluck it from the basket of unused skills but most of the time was busy adding others instead.

I didn't sense from her a drive to develop one major skill, to make one big splash. Instead she padded her life with many. She was very good at most of them, could have been very very good. It is sometimes tempting to look at her life and to think, that's what we're like, this family. We are dabblers. Good dabblers but dabblers nonetheless. Will any of us break out and soar unbelievably high? I wonder.

Death digressions. Is Mike thinking "I'm not done ye?"?  I am sure I will be.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Good dabblers often soar the highest. =)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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