The Long Journey and The Destination

31 Jan

I just talked with the staff at the facility and we feel Ernie’s long journey is slowly coming to an end in this life.  He seems to be sleeping most of the time this week and not as interested in food or anything around him.  Last week was a challenging one for me and the staff as we saw him going through a new agitated phase with being restless, anxious, biting us, and simply not at ease.  It was then that I wondered if this wasn’t his own way of trying to “separate” himself from us. 

No, none of us are God and none us  knows when his time is over in this life — but our prayers have been for Ernie’s peace, dignity and for his greatest good all along.  With God’s help, I feel the time is near.  

Interestingly, last night I had a dream about my husband and he was the man we used to know…fully alive and happy and I felt safe being with him as we laughed together on a ride in one of his favorite cars. I awoke smiling as I realized that it had been a long time since I dreamed of Ernie as he WAS.    

Then, I opened a book in my bed stand and found some personal items that Ernie cherished about which I had forgotten:

  1.    A couple of personal notes he had written to me (and to himself) about how much he loved me.
  2.    A Valentine’s card to him from me with a lovely note written, from my heart, about my being by his side for a lifetime.
  3.    A beautiful letter from his oldest son, Dave, who wrote before he passed away, thanking Ernie for being such a good dad and for always being there for him.

After my chat with the caregiver today, I would not be surprised that those precious, personal findings were not an accident.

There is so little we know about this life and beyond but my belief is that we have the power to communicate at all levels in many ways.  I feel blessed that I got these messages.

A good friend, who has walked this road with her husband’s dementia, called me after reading my email/blog and set my mind at ease with her wisdom:  His agitation is his telling you that he is ready to move on.

It’s been a long journey.  And yes, I feel a bit frightened about his next step but I also feel more prepared.   Most importantly, though, I feel at peace that Ernie, himself, is now ready to move on.  My prayer is that he transitions bravely, peacefully, painlessly and feels the love surrounding him.

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4 Responses to “The Long Journey and The Destination”

  1. boomer98053 January 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    Perhaps Ernie’s recent behavior is the start of him saying goodbye, but it also might be the Universe’s way of telling you that you need to start saying goodbye to him as well. A month before my father died (Alzheimer’s complications) he was in the hospital with prostate issues. He was well into his dementia but still able to carry on a conversation with me. I felt compelled to say, “You know dad, if you are wanting to go, I want you to feel free to do so. I will miss you, but I want you to have the freedom to leave.” As it turns out, that conversation was premature. Dad’s response: “Where would I go Irene? I think I’ll stay, thank you.” A month later, when my dad was back at the memory care unit and in a coma, I repeated my sentiment about leaving. He died 8 hours later, 10 minutes before my brother and sister made it to his bedside. I had told him that Mary and Don would be here very soon and then I stepped out to use the restroom. When I returned, he had passed.

    • mebwoodacre February 1, 2014 at 12:37 am #

      Thank you for this. I agree with you about the Universe as I keep getting “messages” tp let go. I have tried to “say good-by” for a while and I am finally genuinely feeling it. Although I have whispered in Ernie’s ear that I am ready when he is ready to let go, I never really know if he is “understanding me.” I will continue to give him the message, however. There is so much we don’t know and “assume” about those who are in a mentally-limbo stage. I do believe that Ernie will leave when he is ready. Thank you for your wisdom.

  2. JodiMelsness February 1, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    I wrote a little about that under The Light. As a nurse, I understand every word you say. I wrote about it in July. I know it’s a difficult time. Bless you.

  3. Brittany May 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Hello,
    My name is Brittany and I took care of Ernie for a few months at sunrise when he was first entering the transitional unit. I have been keeping up with Ernie’s progress since I left sunrise through your blog and check back frequently to see if there have been any updates. I just wanted to let you know what an inspiration both you and Ernie are to me. He is the reason I ended up changing my course in life and deciding to attend nursing school and work with older patients. Ernie was a joy for me to be around. I like to flatter myself with thinking I was his favorite care manager as we were always together when I was working. I look back at my time at sunrise fondly, largely in part to my interactions with him. I am now in the most accelerated nursing program in the country and every time I am feeling overwhelmed and forget why this will be worth it, I come on here, read your blog, and am brought right back to the reason I chose to do this. Thank you for that. I know wherever Ernie is, he is thinking about how much he loves his lady. Hope you are doing well.
    Brittany

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