I was nervous, what if they don't accept me? What if I am too far out of the rules, the norm? I got myself bathed and brushed. I look very much like a sheep dog with my face covered with hair. I put on something that mostly fit me. Bug and I washed the sheets and made the bed. My white cotton quilt covering the top, my pillow cases covered in pink hibiscus. Bug brought in chairs. He asked how many? I had know idea. The Hospice nurse, the two of us and friends. That is the best I knew. He has a hard time with my math preferring to deal in actual numbers. I had not set this up so I couldn't tell him any further details. I just thought it was a lovely idea to have friends here while you agree to release and let yourself die as naturally as pain relievers and anti-anxiety drugs will allow. I am not agreeing to do this solo. No, I am quite happy to have medical assistance, and to have people in charge of managing that who will only do that which will give me the greatest peace. Isn't it a shame we don't have something like this for our whole lives?
A little before 1:00, Pat and Jan came, then we had Carolyn and Marcie and Mary. Denise called to say she had gotten a promotion so would not be able to come. Of course I would love to have her with us, but this is finally Denise's year. She was just named Chief of the Aucilla Fire Department, something she will be amazingly good at. And now, Senior Teller. She has run branches of banks before. She has opened and set up branches of banks. She knows her stuff, but banks pay notoriously low and set ridiculous hoops to jump through, but she has held tough, and it is finally paying off. With her call I knew that Judy would not be here.
The Nurse showed up and I liked her at once. The bedroom was filled with laughter and joy and woman talking. There was lots of hugging and chaos, and I think Bug was a bit uncomfortable, but the rest of us were all happy to be together. This was the core of the Jezebels. There are other Jezebels, but this was our group of woman who have lived lives. Many of us here had already faced Hospice for parents or siblings. We are experienced about life at this point. The Nurse worked through her questions and made check marks on her forms. She got my humor and I think was extremely impressed by my Greek Chorus. All Stage Company regulars. People who love theater and drama, in the right place. And as a chorus they added depths to the questions and answers. One of the first questions: "Have you selected a Crematorium?" My response: "I have been looking for one that does it by the pound and haven't found one yet." The Chorus sang in with the name of the Funeral home everyone uses here in Monticello. The nurse looked at me with a sparkle in her eye. She went to the next question, admiring my drugs, schedules etc assuring me that Hospice would take care over all of this and I would not have to worry. I explained I already was not worried. I simply was going to relax and enjoy as much peace as should come my way for as long as it should be. I doubted that it will be over anytime soon. I don't feel like I am dying, I just feel loved, lucky. As long as I stayed at the Oncology Program, people would be hoping for a miracle. I had my miracle a long time ago. I was born. Life has been an amazing carpet ride ever since and I was grateful that I had as long as I had.
All of these ladies, friends, sisters, my heart made the moment fill like the most important moment in my life, and the most joyful moment. I am still vibrating from the love. And yet, I am still not "accepted" my hospice. They have to accept me and Ms. Sheryl said she would call me and give me a "Congratulations! You have been accepted as a member of Big Bend Hospice!" The ladies explained it was like getting a part in a play. You loved getting the call. Ms Sheryl smiled and said that although that is not normal for Hospice she would be happy to. I am still waiting on that call. I know it involves paperwork and medical stuff and it is just as simple as it once was. But not much is.
After everyone had left and I lay quietly by myself on my white quilt. I felt a happiness so simple and real. It was like I could feel it all around me. Everything I touched, smelled or could see was perfect. A well lived life in a beautiful bright happy room. A body worn out from laughing and enjoying time with beloved ones. Knowing that I can just live out the rest of my life without the pressure of numbers or blood draws. I am just me again.
Bob and Edna sleep next to my bed.
The sun shines through the windows
The pain does not matter any longer
I am happy