Solo Travellers Say a Lot of Goodbyes

            A white board runs Jeannie’s life now. And timers on her iPhone, and little batches of pills. It’s a process of adapting, continually, to a new normal.

            “Sorry for the mind loop,” she says with regret when she asks a question I just answered a few minutes ago. “Maybe you can give me a sticky note with the answer on it so I don’t ask again?” It’s no less frustrating for her than for her caregivers.

            Time is short. We don’t know how much longer until Jeannie dies, and the hours she has each day are limited and decreasing. Morning is usually best. From about 7 until 11 her brain is as sharp as it will be that day. She gets things done off her white board – and erases them, always a great pleasure. And arranges FaceTime visits with her sisters and best friend from childhood, LuAnn. A retired chaplain in the US Navy, LuAnn did a socially distanced sharing of the sacraments with us on FaceTime recently. What a dear, dear friend. What a tender gift of love in the middle of Covid19 and wrapping up a life, and living with dying more and more each day.

            I read to Jeannie each night as she falls asleep. One of her favourite authors is Chris Duff, a long distance kayaker. We’ve read all his published books, and he even graciously allowed us the chance to read his unpublished book about his recent adventure on the Atlantic. Leave-taking happens often in his books, given that he meets so many interesting people in his travels.

            Kind of like life. “Ties to the point of departure are cast off,” he writes on page 21 of On Celtic Tides. Jeannie chose this passage for the blog this week. “The handshake of a friend or stranger is loosened as reluctantly as the line tied to the dock. The boat drifts from the land and the wind or tide hastens the months of planning. Solo suddenly means exactly what it says.”

            Jeannie is experiencing this part of life solo. Drifting away. And with you as her witness. Thank you for your love and care and communications. It all means so much more than you can ever know.

Hugs and more hugs,

David and Jeannie

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