A Sort of Homecoming

I have four clocks on the mantelpiece above my fireplace.

One tells the actual time.

One is set for 5:10-ish AM, the time Caeley was born.

One is set for 3 pm, the time of Jamey and my wedding.

And the last?

The last was a clock that had previously been used to tell time.

That is, until the battery exploded inside it.

I liked the look of the clock(and I was going for symmetry on the mantlepiece arrangement) so I kept that defunct clock on the wall, frozen at the time it died–approx 2:40.

I can’t tell you if it was 2:40 am or pm.

I can tell you this:

I received a delivery in the mail today–a peace lily from Jamey’s former co-workers at TD Bank.

Today marks the third anniversary of his passing and every year, without fail, his former co-workers send us something to mark the date.

As the years pass, fewer and fewer people remember.

It’s ok.

It’s understandable.

That’s what happens as time passes.

So every year, the people that do remember–the texts, the emails, the thoughtful gestures, carry that much more significance.

After opening the peace lily this year, I was faced with a dilemma–where to place it.

My two cats are notorious plant-gobblers, so I had to choose a rare spot that they couldn’t access.

So I chose here:

The plant now rests (hopefully) safely on my mantelpiece.

It’s slightly obscuring one of my clocks–the one that marks the hour Jamey and my wedding began.

It’s also directly below that now defunct 2:40-ish maybe am/maybe pm clock that I liked the looks of but really just kept up there for symmetry.

And oh, also, another thing to mention about that 2:40-ish clock that’s been retired to my mantelpiece for about 10 years now—-

It also marks the approximate time that Jamey passed away.

That’s a fact I didn’t realize until reading through all of my old Headed Into Overtime posts today.

It’s been three years and I’d never made that connection.

Now listen, I’m not looking to make any crazy cosmic connections.

I’m not claiming “this is a sign” or “he’s speaking to me” or “this is a message from beyond the grave”.

I know people think that and I respect their beliefs.

And I hope they respect mine when I say I’m not a believer in such things.

It’s an odd coincidence; a happy accident to me.

And that’s ok.

Coincidence or sign, it made an otherwise pretty crappy day a lot better.

So on this thirsaversary of Jamey’s passing I’d like to share some lines of his favorite song by his favorite band.

I was listening to it a lot today and although it made me cry, it also brought me solace.

So, HOTties, my advice to you today is this:

Hang lots of different clocks in your house all set to different times. You’ll never know which one’s battery might stop at a significant moment in your life.

A Sort of Homecoming

By U2

“And your hear beats so slow

Through the rain and fallen snow

Across the fields of mourning

Lights in the distance.

Oh! Don’t sorrow no don’t weep

For tonight at last

I am coming home.

I am coming home.”

10 thoughts on “A Sort of Homecoming

  1. Lovely piece on a sad day. Been thinking of you both today, actually all three. 🙁 I hope you at least had some time to reflect on the happy times and fond memories
    Xx

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  2. Oh, I just love that, thank you for the wonderful post. Maybe happy accidents are consoling, loving little gifts from God. Whatever it is, it’s got some mighty loving and gentle mojo going on for you.
    So while I’m here…..Do you take requests on topics? Hospice would be a good one. Transitioning into hospice,
    I am once again reading thru this blog from the start. it’s the best record I have found anywhere of what it’s like to bring in hospice because of among other things, safety issues. I’m sorry to say I’m having to look into a hospice option for the same reasons you did and I now understand why it wasn’t odd to do a high-five and fist-pump,when you made it.

    God Bless,
    Judy Donley

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    • Oh, Judy!
      My heart says “I’m so sorry” but my mind says, “finally”. To anyone who doesn’t know what we’ve weathered, that might sound cold, but I thiink you get it.
      Not sure how ok you are sharing details in a public forum, but I am absolutely eager to field any question you might have about the topic. I don’t have all the answers but I’m more than happy to help you find them.
      I could always also give you my personal email address if sharing info on here isnt your cup of tea.
      Please know I’m here.
      —Kim

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  3. Hi Judy—just realized my response to your post from last week never went through and, for some reason, was posted as an anonymous “Someone”, not me.
    Rest assured, as soon as I read what you’d written, I responded.
    As I’ve said before, this WordPress site is frustrating at times.
    Please let me know what I can help with.
    —Kim

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    • Providence always looking out for me 🙂 just got the notion to look waaaay back in my emails tonight, thought I’d see if there was anymore chatter here and was so touched by you responses. I’d be happy to discuss things here with you, or we can email. It’s all fine with me, whatever is shared here could help someone else.
      I don’t want to be hijacking the nice give and take moments moments of the replies to your posts, it’s up to you. I just clicked on the button so I will get notified of new comments. Do you have my email from my participation? If not I will post it for you, no prob.

      God Bless, have a good Mother’s Day,
      Judy

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      • Hi Judy-So you wished me a Happy Mother’s Day in your last reply to me and now we’re almost at Father’s Day. 🙄
        So I’m thinking if you’re ok keeping things public, I am as well. As you pointed out and I totally agree—if it can help someone else going through something similar, it’s worth it I think. I don’t know that I’ll know the answers but I’ll try to help as I can.
        Talk soon!
        —Kim

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      • Ok! Let the conversation begin. I will start with a big question on my mind; Its about about oncology care which in our case is a whopping 5 hours away from our very rural community, it’s about transitions in care to hospice or ….something…
        Neuro Oncol. Visits and just- for-monitoring -MRIs are getting to be unsafe because i can’t handle him in the vehicle all day anymore and N.O. Visits infuriate him ( read:terrify) especially when he’s told ‘sorry, no more driving’ by the doctor. ( read:loss of independence and control).

        It’s about maintaining the relationship with the neurooncologust ( and Michael is a charity case at this hospital) even if it means ‘see ya when things go downhill. Until then, I don’t want to bring him to you because he went into a rage in your office and almost jumped out of the car into traffic afterward.’

        My husband denies that he has cancer. God has cured him. The doctors don’t know anything. That oncologist is a wet-behind-the-ears whippersnapper, Says he. I’m only going to the doctors to keep the insurance active and because they say I have to Which is twice a year. Says he.
        And he is DONE with anymore treatments. Tuned to his own station, I’m just on the deescalate, keep him calm, distract, re-direct plan every day, all day. . He refuses any ‘ calm down meds ‘ beyond his anticonvulsant. Neurocognitive exams, , evaluations, dr visits send him into orbit. Unstable moods are an understatement. Local mental health services limited and his counselor says she doesn’t have the resources to help him, he actually seems worse than when he started ( I agree and dread his visits for above stated reasons) and his insurance isn’t hardly covering any of the visits for the last 5 years.

        He is at his best, calmest, most safe right here on our 1/4 acre doing what he loves which is gardening, working with his fruit trees, walking around town giving the neighbors dogs treats. but even a trip to the grocery store or keeping him from getting behind the wheel is getting interesting, to say the least.

        Hospice? He’s heading that way sooner than later says my intuition and my caregiver eyes. He seems to be in the homestretch of the 10 year survival prediction. ( not that I put much into survival predictions, I’m just looking at him and watching the overall decline, muscles wasting weight loss, knowing his cancer is now in other parts of his brain. However, his particular type of tumor (astrocytoma) takes its sweet time grinding them down. Horrible.

        So when I first went begging for hospice, it was because i just wanted to find the building and meet the nurses and I told them my situation; of major safety issues taking him that far from home. I don’t want to take him for anymore check ups, any more MRIs. ‘ sorry, hospice doesn’t work that way’ I was told in a visit of my own to the office. He’s got enough mobility and is independant enough at home that he doesn’t yet qualify under our state regs.

        A phone all to the nurse explaining the safety issues only gets a sympathetic ‘yeah……I’m so sorry….if he shows signs of getting worse, call us and we will do a neurocognitive exam, maybe he needs an MRI sooner than later.”
        That being said, yes, they did ask ‘am I safe in my home right now?’ In an email that wanted to do a safety check for some kind of acute crisis like he was lying in wait for me with sharp objects, etc. which I understand.

        I’ve been at this for 14 years, the behavior management, adaptions and with the knowledge that it’s the tumor talking and the changes in him have been slow coming-on but profound.

        On her end at the charity/teaching hospital : another burnt-out caregiver, another sad BT case. We have resources if they need them. Gotta move on to the other 30 cases I’m dealing with in my 8 hour day, just like them. Yes, I know it’s this way because I see the office in action. Wonderful treatment, ( really it is, they do the best they can with a very full plate) wonderful generous folks but there are too many patients like Michael with Medicare and no money.

        On my end: either her hands are tied and/or she’s not hearing me, but I’m afraid of pressing the issues that scare me because of possibly souring the relationship with the doc?
        Michael will need the expertise of a Neuro oncologist/palliative specialist when his symptoms and suffering ramp up in the end. But he needs a separation or a change in the meantime.

        Thanks for listening!
        God Bless,

        Judy
        Our Lady, Undoer of Knots,
        Pray for us.
        Amen.

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      • Hi Judy—I’m going to respond as I well as I can but going to try to put it in a separate post. I’m so sorry for what you continue to battle. I feel I should have an answer—or a suggestion—or a possible avenue to take. Unfortunately, all I can offer you is a sympathetic shoulder to cry/vent/scream/collapse on.

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      • Bear with me, I may be repeating myself…just thinking out loud…….thanks for your mullings in our kart and reflections! Yeah, you know there’s no fixing this, just to endure. I do have a very good support system for the venting part. Befuddled, though, by the forest of healthcare trees upon which each provider sits and how little they are able/willing to collaborate on his overall care.

        If they made paper airplanes of his clinical notes and all the ‘SOS’ messages sent to the NO social worker and tossed them in each other’s general direction it would work better than how things are being done. Boy, to get everyone in a single room with a basket of markers and a whiteboard. That would be something….

        And hes a charity case, with expensive visits ( the cost of just bi-annual diagnostics are out of sight) but not able to be covered by state insurance ( that’s a whole other story) and with his medical history and rare peculiarities of his tumor he’s a very interesting case to this teaching hospital. Everyone was happy with the level of cooperation on his part but the ‘trophy patient’ ( my guys description of himself) no longer wants to play ball, just wants to be left alone.

        No, he’s not just a body to them, of course not. I love this hospital and feel safe/ cared for, totally supported, the minute we walk in the door. I’ve actually ‘lived’ there, during his surgery recoveries sleeping on couches and living out of the snack machines, with all confidence that he was in good hands.

        But the interactions and level of support changed drastically when he began fighting treatments, and now even the twice a year imaging. Not blaming the hospital, it’s a necessary triage structure when there are so many patients waiting in line who DO want cancer treatment and need the hospital bed.

        So where does that leave those who are post treatment, never want to step foot in any doctors office ever again but not ready for hospice.
        On an up note, I had a very providential meeting with one provider on his care and quality of life that was pretty helpful. Hoping to keep the ball rolling there….

        Thanks!
        Judy

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