Just hours after we buried my husband’s sweet mama, after just a few days in hospice, we sat down with her husband of 37 years. Jay’s stepdad is 95 and he kept saying what we all had expected...that he was supposed to die first. He didn’t. It’s unfathomable to him and to us as well. He’s tired and has been for a long time. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He worked outdoors doing manual labor all his life. At 90 he was still working as a janitor three days a week. Exhaustion finally set in at 92. He’s been in and out of hospice care the last 15 months. We know all the kind and caring nurses by their first names.
His dementia was in full swing after a long week of death, funeral planning, greeting family members and burying his wife. As we talked that evening he said to me, “I am grateful to Jay and Jean (Jay’s younger sister) for the kindness they have shown me all these years.” Interestingly he was speaking of my husband while they were seated side-by-side. Then he said, “But I just wish they came around more often.” This made us wide-eyed as Jay and Jean had both been with him almost constantly for the last two weeks and consistently over the 37 years. They had cared for their mom and stepdad while both lived out of town and always appreciated the care their step-dad gave their mom after her first husband, and their dad, died unexpectedly of cancer while Jay and Jean were in college. In the step parent lottery, he was a winner. It was easy for them to provide him with ample attention and appreciation all those 37 years he was married to their mom.
Immediately Jay said to his step-dad, “Hey, I heard Jay has a cute girlfriend named Annie.” Without missing a beat his stepdad said to Jay, “Oh yeah, I know Annie. She’s pretty cute. He should marry her”!