Inside Out, Outside In

Albert and Dad.jpg

I don’t know if the Right Reverend was rallying today or what. Mercy he was with it. 

For the last week he's mostly been inside himself doing his work. Today he was more with us. 

He woke up with “one matter to think about”, wondering if the his insurance company been called. Not yet. We will. All is well. John and I did the wide eyed look at each other when Dad started talking because really, he's been wayyyyy away.

Then Dad looked at me. “I had a dream.”

Now I’ve been asking him about dreams for the last few months. I was Delighted with a capital D to hear he’d had one worth mentioning though he couldn’t tell me about it. (If you want something interesting to read, look up the Buffalo hospice research about dreams and the dying. Good stuff.) 

Then, “Has the insurance man been by yet?” “Is there someone parked outside?”

We told him we hadn’t seen the insurance man and suspected yes, someone was parked outside.

When my friend Laurie was on hospice she talked about people in the hallway having a party. And she fretted over not being able to get a ticket to the big show because she didn’t have her purse. Michele and I reassured her the ticket would be ready and waiting when it was showtime.

Dad’s in a similar place, waiting for the folks outside to start coming in. They’ll be along shortly. 

This afternoon he closed his eyes for a bit. He woke himself up (and scared the crap out of me) looking to the left of his bed speaking with vigor, “Hello, hello, helloooo” as though trying to get someone’s attention. 

There was grief today, too. He cried a couple times. No words spoken. Much emotion. From all of us. 

“This is a sad time. It must be so difficult to leave. We’re sad, too. We’re going to miss you so much.”

Dad's asked quite often, "How are you feeling?"

Not bad and better are his two favorite replies.

He offered a new one today. "I feel like I'm getting closer to going home. I'm feeling alright."  

I had a ball of anxiety in me the size of Kentucky this afternoon. Rachel showed up at the exact right moment and took me to Wal-mart for a walk-about - as good friends do. Anxiety dissipated. July 4th T-shirts purchased. Reset complete. 

Tender moments. Sweet moments. Smiles. Many pieces have came together to make a good day:

John feeding Dad a wee bowl of orange sherbet. 

7 Brides for 7 Brothers. 

Nonagenarian Vi stopping by to cover Dad’s toes.

Nonagenarian Albert getting a greeting from Dad by name. “Hello my friend, Albert.” 

“Glenn, let me shake your hand.” (Glenn is not a nonagenarian. He IS a contrarian and we like that about him.)

A prayer shawl received from Cousin Carolyn and a group of loves from the Church of Reconciliation in San Antonio.        

Our 3rd Louie Mueller BBQ lunch. 

Blue Bell, John, and Erica came visiting and Blue Bell got on Dad’s bed for few minutes. 

More Masonic brothers.

Talk of Jim and Dorothy, brother and mother we imagine are around.

It's been a good day.

“Dad, Suzette’s staying with you tonight.”

Big grin...“Well that’s alright.”

“We love you.”

“Goodnight Sweeties.”

“Goodnight Papa.”



Martha Jo Atkins, Ph.D., LPC-S is the Executive Director of Abode Contemplative Care for the Dying in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Atkins is a professional counselor, coach, and researches and teaches about the trajectory of dying. You can learn more about Abode Contemplative Care for the dying at www.abodehome.orgYou can learn more about Dr. Atkins at or find her on Facebook here or here.

Martha Atkins