Such a very strange day...
I can barely remember back to the morning.
Except for the wind: there was a ferocious wind most of the day. The cushions on the porch swing, which I had neglected to take inside, blew onto the deck. Two squirrells huddled together for protection in one of the wooden chairs. Birds looked as if they were being blown off course.
Besides the wind, it was a quiet day, an inward day for me---much like the Solstice, deep deep winter, but different: instead of snow, which had all melted, the large branches of the old tall firs and spruces in back were being blown wildly, waving around like arms, like rooted dancers.
I resumed the Sunday morning custom of trying to reach the family, by phone or skype or email.
Took a break and exchanged gifts with a friend, and got to visit. The wind was not so fierce in her neighborhood.
Back home, I finally began investigating the kitchen cabinet that held a collection of Zalman's vitamins and supplements along with more general remedies---aspirin, Emergen-C, common homeopathic remedies, herbal tinctures, Chloroxygen (which I keep on hand for folks visiting from Down Below; somehow helps with the altitude.) I discovered such a variety of things that used to arrive for Zalman---from his practitioner of Chinese medicine, or people who cared about him who were naturopaths or herbalists, or others with whom he consulted now and then. Many things were long out of date. Some were used, some not even opened. The Chinese remedies are in a bag to take to the acupuncturist to see if they would still be useful for someone. What is still within its use-by date has gone back into the cabinet. Then there is a large collection of items that are marked out-of-date, about which I hope to consult with those who know: how firm is the use-by date? and if they are really expired, how do I dispose of them? I didn't know that aspirin could expire...
The process brought back a whole home-movie of the years since we arrived here, and the increasing and compounding physical difficulties that my dear man was suffering, and treating with a consistent inconsistency. Some of the bottles have instructions hand-written by friends; some are from the pharmacy. Some are nearly empty; some are nearly full.
What a story the collection tells, careening from the pharmaceutical to the herbal to the homeopathic to the Chinese.
Some of the nostrums may have made him more comfortable for a while. Some may indeed have prolonged his life.
In the end, though, it may be that the love which inspired someone to search out and send the remedies was what accomplished whatever degree of healing took place.
I know that for the last while of his life, he had no patience with any remedies at all, and resented me trying to get him to use them. I think he could feel his body wanting to exhale, and give up; and I wasn't letting it: I was struggling to fix what was no longer fixable.
I am so grateful, all over again, for the great help---from the doctors in Connecticut, to the friends who got us medivacked home to Boulder, to his docs here---that enabled my beloved to leave this world peacefully from his own bed in his own home.
Blessings, on this deep winter night of two-Chanukah-candles-plus-the-shammes.