Yesterday, I was reminded of something my sister said to me – actually, a combination of things two of my sisters said – when Kim passed: “You stood like a loving sentinel over Kim, standing at her side with constancy and devotion. No woman could ask for more than that.”
It’s high praise, and I hope that it felt that way to Kim. It certainly didn’t feel that way to me at the time.
The term “constancy” also relates back to several other posts in which I’ve discussed our relationship. We each stood by the other through various trials with constancy. Though we had our doubts regarding the soundness of doing so at times, we never wavered from our commitment to each other; we stood by each other, sometimes angry, sometimes hurt, but always in and with love.
I related in the past how the social worker assigned to work with Kim and me through her hospice told me of families that sequestered their dying relative, removing them from the centrality of their family. This is inconceivable to me. Kim was hospiced in the front room of our hour – the living room. This offered some challenges to the management of our home; however, it allowed us, as a family, to be with her constantly, and it allowed her to be with us. She wasn’t behind a closed bedroom door; she was right in the middle of things. No-one could come or go without seeing her, and she loved it. We were able to sit with her and watch her favorite movies with her. We could involve her in everything, even when she could no longer walk around the house with us. To me, it just felt like the right thing to do, and my role felt like my duty to her.
The house, even to this day, has not “recovered” from the living room being converted into Kim’s room. The furniture that was discarded in order to make room for her bed has not been replaced. Eventually, it will be remade; remodeled – but today, it still serves as one of many witnesses that Kim was here. A reminder of all that went before, and how, at least in this life, it ended.