Next weekend will mark the eighth anniversary of Dale's death. October 2, 2002.
It was at the beginning of last week that I thought, is it someones birthday today? What day is it anyway? and a few moments later I realized that it was the countdown time.
Sept. 14th was the day he announced he was ready to go; he lingered on at our little duplex over by the Michener Centre. I was caring for him there because I'd promised him he wouldn't have to die at the hospital. Those eight hospital stays had taken their toll and he would have no more of it. Honestly, he would have liked to go off on his own to die, on his own terms down to the letter (that was his personality disorder at work) but he acquiesced to me and eventually chose to pass in his own bed, which was a double size platform.
For the first few days we didn't make any changes, he was growing weak but could still be assisted to the en suite bathroom or to lay down on the couch down the hall in the living room. One such day I remember putting a Muddy Waters disc in the stereo. He lay still for a few seconds, with his eyes closed, before whispering, "You are a Goddess."
The following week in our bedroom, I'd had to take out most personal affects to make room for wash cloths, bed pads, foamy toothbrushes and a washing basin. Above the bed where a print had once hung there were bags of saline and morphine. The bedside table was gone and a large beige corduroy papasan chair was positioned so that the caregiver could read or nap while sitting with him.
It blows me away that it's been eight years since I started that first countdown - at this time, on this day eight years ago, my sister and I were in her truck taking Dale to see his general practitioner in Innisfail. I'd be told that he had a week or so left, and he did indeed pass on a week later.
Today I'm building a little compost bin in the back yard. I think it'll be a good day.