The Last Birthday Party
Today I participated in a birthday party. I say participated because all the Moms got together and threw a big 10th birthday party for my friend J.’s son. His birthday is actually Tuesday, but we had a bash for him on the sports fields. His Mom always threw him one and we weren’t about to let this be the birthday that wasn’t, so a couple Moms coordinated it and the rest of us brought something. 60 kids were invited… every kid in 4th grade. The Dads stayed too to help with the sports. It was three hours of running, food, cake and balloons.
I was in charge of balloons. I damn near had a heart attack as a couple of them popped on my way to the pavilion. Here I am toodling along the road when BLAM! a balloon pops. I’m lucky I didn’t crash.
We tried to make it a great time. Her husband taped the whole thing and the women folk, we Moms, made complete fools of ourselves on the tape. But I should rephrase… it was as great a time as it could be… with her not there.
They took her to Hospice this morning. And this is where everyone was coming to me. I seem to be the realist of the group so whenever anything happens, all the Moms come to me and say, “What do YOU think?”
When I got there and P. saw me with my bazillion helium balloons he came over and gave me a big hug. He told me that her fluids were low so they took her to Hospice to bring her levels back up, but that she would be back in a couple days. Hmmm.
See, this is our problem. He is off and on in denial, which is perfectly normal, but as outsiders, we.are.not. We are set very firmly in acceptance. His denial is different now. It was ‘she’s not going to die; we will beat this’, but now it is, ‘she’ll be with us for a few more months’, but none of us are so sure that is true either. So when I heard she would be back in a couple days in the same breath with ‘we took her to Hospice this morning’, big warning bells went off in my head. Is it true? Or is he saying it because he cannot bear to think she is not coming back… and it’s his son’s birthday? I just don’t know.
And as the Moms kept coming up to me saying, “What do you think of this?” my standard reply was, “It’s one of two things. Yes, they are bringing her fluid levels up as their goal is to keep her comfortable and they will not let her die of dehydration OR it is bad and this is it. I just don’t know. I don’t have enough information. But I will tell you, she looked good on Friday.”
I am banking on her coming back home and taking it all at face value… it is what he said. But a part of me is bracing myself for the big ‘this is it’.
And her son, he was not happy at the party, which is to be expected. His Mom was NOT there as we had planned. His Mom is dying and although his parents haven’t spoken of it, he KNOWS it. He was distracted. As my Mom said, “He is trying to make sense of his world.” Hospice counseling starts next week, which I have to throttle back my anger as I think it should have started a few weeks ago, but who am I to say? I do not walk in their shoes so I CANNOT judge. It is wrong for me to do so.
Hospice told them last week to tell the boys and they have not. How do you tell your kids you are dying and will not see them at Christmas? How do you tell your kids you will not see them graduate from High School? How do you tell your kids you will not see them marry or hold their children when they are babies? How does one do that?