Sleepless on Vancouver Island part 3

Our saga continues; sleep is very much a rare and precious commodity at present, and I’m almost pathetically grateful to Mrs S for not waking me last night. A full nights sleep is the only luxury I crave.

At present we’re shuffling painkiller regimens around and trying differing routines just to see if Mother in law will allow us a full nights restorative repose. At present the answer seems to be no. The night before last, all we heard from Mil was whimpering and crying, all night long. She shuts up during the day and just sits there, seemingly barely aware of her surroundings or self. You can’t engage because she simply drifts off while you’re talking, and doesn’t want to talk about family or anything. All we get is this sense that she’s terrified of everything, and by that I do mean everything. All she does is respond like a Hedgehog, rolling into a ball and refusing to move, expecting everyone else to do the heavy lifting.

It’s not that she’s starved or mistreated either. Yesterday I was ‘supervising’ a walk from dining area to main room, a distance of some fifty feet, and I caught her as she fell (Or tried to) three times. She’s a healthy 110lbs, which is spot on for her height and build, and there is muscle there, it’s just that they’re all bunched up in this weird mass of irrational anxiety.

Our local Doctor will not prescribe any more heavy duty painkillers. We’re on maximum dosage at it is, but still the nocturnal whimpering and crying. Personally I think she realises she’s dying and is so petrified because she’s never actually lived. Never confronted the universal dilemmas of human existence and made what peace with the cosmos that she could.

This is the issue with dying, and I’ve seen far too much of it for my liking. We all have to go sometime, and I hope when my turn comes I’ll face it with a certain equanimity, and slide into the long night with ironic smile on my face. Most people don’t stare down their own mortality early in life and curse it for the coward dying makes of us all. Most come to the eternal verities too late, spending their last days in paralysed terror, and this is where Mil is. No reassurance will help. No priest can raise the darkness and show the path to the light. That is for everyone to find for themselves. Ironically it seems, Death brings the ultimate freedom. You might not be able to choose the where and the why of your ending, but you can certainly choose the how. With quiet courage, a little dignity and strength, in a sudden confused rush, or rolled into a self tortured ball of pain and fright stricken misery.

Mrs S is carrying the brunt of all this of course, and it’s painful to watch. Because watch is all I can do. I can see that everyone is warm, well fed, and cosy, but I can’t control other people’s self imposed anxieties. She says in her own words that she’s “Annoyed at having her life hijacked.” but what can I do? Apart from simply be there for my wife when she needs me to hold her. As for sleep itself, ours is sporadic and barely sufficient, but it is all we have.

At times like these I revert to my stoic country bred roots, and the philosophy that sustains me. In short; “What cannot be cured must be endured.” or “I live for the better days.” Just over sixty days more.