Well, we did it...my brother, Kevin, and I went to see Bob this afternoon. There he was in the hospital bed. He was a tall and big man, but he'd lost a lot of weight (quickly) and seemed frail. The skin on his hands looked paper thin. That saddened me because his big, strong hands were accustomed to doing hard farm work when we were growing up. Although, his huge brown eyes were the same. Those were the Bob I remembered.
His daughter, Holly, was in the room as was his only sibling, his younger brother, Jeff. As I said in my original post, Jeff was part of our big neighborhood family. He gave me a big, strong hug.
I greeted Bob and reached for his hand. He told me he was happy to see us. It was at this point that I thought I was going to lose it. I blinked hard and tried to focus on some of our fun/good times together.
Thankfully some other friends arrived and they helped to distract me from my near meltdown. It was at this point that all of us began to play off each other with stories of this and that. Before long we ALL were smiling and laughing.
Bob was animated and participated with enthusiasm in the discussion.
Holly took me aside and said she was amazed at the scene. She told me that, earlier this morning, he was incoherent and almost unconscious. She had feared that the end was near. She related that that was how he had been for most of the day as well as yesterday. He seemed to rally when visitors arrived...meaning Kevin, the other folks and me.
We stayed for several hours, which were spent telling stories that brought back memories of many, many years passed. We spoke of our elementary school years, high school hijinks, adventures (um) things our parents (hopefully) didn't find out about, weddings (ours and those of our children), and other assorted and sundry remembrances.
After a few hours, he seemed to be tiring and fell into little naps, so Kevin and I felt it was time to leave.
Bob opened his eyes and I gave him a big hug and a kiss, told him I loved him and left. That was bittersweet. Of course, Holly and Jeff got big hugs and kisses, too. I left a little of myself with all of them.
All in all, it was not as bad an experience as I'd anticipated and I'm soooo glad I went.
On the drive home, Kevin and I talked about the experience. He asked me if it was "easy or hard." My answer, "Yes."
I can't finish this post without thanking all of you at DC who sent me your love and thoughts. Those helped give me the strength to weather today.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!