gale blowing in am, clearing in PM
So much has happened since the last post. We're in London now. Just had dinner in a pub on the King's Road. Michael had a Sunday roast and I had fish and chips. We both had a ginger beer. And talked about the weekend.
We fell into bed Friday night - exhausted but feeling very calm. Slept extemely well and had a wonderful full English breakfast Saturday morning. Then off to John and Moira's. The place is called the Guildhall and is a Grade 1 listed timber frame home right beside the church. From there we went the 30 minutes to Norwich Hospital to see John. He'd been so well the day before the family, who had been planning to stay, had decided that maybe it was safe to leave on Sunday and come back mid-week if need be.
Saturday, though, found John exhausted. Still aware, but drifting in and out of sleep. Michael and Dick spent time with him. I went in briefly to say hello and kiss him. Then left the guys alone. We spent all morning in the waiting room as the family took turns sitting with John. Then we went to the cafeteria for lunch. After lunch it was time for Dick to say goodbye. He needed to head off. So he went up alone to be with John, say to goodbye in private. It was heartbreaking to see him, so dignified, back so straight, walking to the elevator to see his friend for the last time.
He came back down 15 minutes later and we all hugged and wished him a good trip. He's a lovely man, and a wonderful friend to both John and Michael. And too much of an Englishman to show his pain, though it was evident in the red eyes when he returned.
Then Dick left for the train station and we spent the rest of the afternoon at the hospital as the family and Michael rotated in and out of John's room. In late afternoon we were driven back to the bed and breakfast.
Saturday felt different than Friday. As though the air had been released. Deflated. the energy almost gone. It also felt as though the family was reaching the end of their rope...just hanging on. And while Michael and I felt loved and welcome, we also felt they didn't need to cook for us, and make pleasant conversation, drive us home. Besides, honestly, we were tired too.
So we picked up a couple of sandwiches and some softdrinks and cocooned back at the fabulous B&B - Camomile Cottage. I realized I mis-spelt it in the previous post. And perhaps just now too! And I haven't had the chance to read the comments from the previous post, but I will...and I am certain they are loving and kind and wise and caring. And I am sure I will be deeply comforted, as will Michael. Thank you.
Neither of us slept well last night. I could hear Michael crying and held him a few times, then realized when I did he stopped, only to start again. And I wondered if I was holding him, and comforting him, more for my sake than his. That his crying hurt me and I wanted it to stop. But perhaps, I thought, he should just cry. So I let him. But it was hard. sometimes I could hear him speaking to himself, mumbling, but I couldn't make out what he was saying. Prayers? Talking to God? To John?
Next morning I found out he was practicing what to say to John today, when it came his turn to say goodbye.
Eventually that time came, and of course, everything he'd planned and practiced went out the window and it was just the two of them sitting quietly, Michael holding John's hand.
they'd had a call from the hospital last night to say John was now in renal failure and he would soon slip into a coma, and die. He might have a day. Perhaps two.
When we arrived, he was awake. Agitated, but not in pain, and not frightened. Michael held his hand, then kissed him. And told him he loved him. Then he left.
And now we're in London. Tired and sad. But also grateful we came. And feeling we, mostly Michael, really has said goodbye. And it was time to go.
We've received many beautiful messages in the past few days. Many very personal, with people telling me about their own experiences, losing someone they loved. the agony of the anticipated grief. Those final moments. How hope shifts from long life, to painless, peaceful death. it never leaves, it just changes.
And Harry sent us these lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 73
This thou perceivest, which makes they love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.