rain, heavy at times, humid, temps 25
We spent the morning with Jacques and Louise at the Granby Hospital. Funny, but as soon as we walked through the door into the Palliative Care wing we could feel a peace. Not necessarily a personal peace, but it felt like a sigh. The colours were warm and muted, there was no rush, no bright lights and hubbub. Just calm.
We found Jacques' room. He was asleep. Louise had been there earlier and had gone home for a few minutes. It was just past 9am. Jacques woke up, we sat down, and except for a few trips down to the nearby 'living room' for quiet talks with Louise, we were with Jacques for three hours.
We'd fully expected he'd only be able to stand us for 20 minutes. Indeed, he made it clear he'd tell us when he was getting too tired. We were beyond thrilled when the visit just went on - like a really fine dinner party no one wants to end. Oddly, when Louise (his partner) Michael and I left so he could be bathed - we nipped down to the cafeteria - the priest arrived. And gave Jacques the last rites. When we returned Jacques told us about it. And told the priest that he was born, he was about to die, and he was a peace with that and everything that happened between. But the details were none of the priests business. Apparently the priest laughed and agreed. And said as long as Jacques was at peace, so was he.
But I must say, it gave us all a bit of a turn to hear he'd been given the last rites. Louise and I left the guys alone, and went to the lounge to talk. She's amazing...trying to help Jacques do what he needs to do, and not bring her own fears into it. Time for that later, she said.
And this is where One Day at a Time becomes so much more than a cliche (if it ever was one).
Eventually Jacques remarkable energy waned and it was time to leave. We promised to send postcards from British Columbia. Louise said jacques' only regret is that he never saw the coast of British Columbia. jacques echoed that a few minutes later - and paused...then admitted if that was his only regret it wasn't too bad.
We kissed goodbye, and told each other 'I love you.' And made it out into the hall before bursting into tears.
It was a beautiful three hours.