”I’m ready.” That’s what Julie told me today when I tossed out another, “Maybe you could ask your doctor about…” She doesn’t want to go back to the hospital, and she doesn’t want to try any more rounds of treatment. She just wants the pain and nausea to go away. She is done, and she is ready.
While it was hard to hear (oh, it was hard to hear), I’m not surprised. Here’s the gist of what’s been going on since she posted in January.
- The tumor in her stomach has grown, resulting in pain and nausea.
- She went to the hospital seeking relief from that and to address the ongoing low sodium issue.
- While in the hospital, she had radiation therapy to try to reduce the size of the tumor. The goal was to relieve the pressure on her organs and get her sodium level back under control.
- She learned that now that she has Medicare, she no longer qualifies for free medication for the sodium. It has not been especially effective as of late anyway, so she went home from the hospital without it.
Since she’s been home, she’s gone on Hospice, and John has been constantly by her side. While the tumor seems to have shrunk some, she’s still in a lot of pain and the nausea is ongoing. She’s not eating, she’s jaundiced, and she sleeps a lot because she’s on high-dose pain medication.
When I talked to her today, she said she was looking forward to seeing Mom. I said maybe there would be a beach, but she told me there are no beaches in heaven (what do I know?), so there must be something even better than beaches. She said, “Whatever’s there, it has to be better than this.”
So, here we are. I feel like I should share some profound life lesson, like, be sure to say, “I love you,” every day to those who are dear to you. Isn’t that supposed to be an end-of-life lesson? It’s a thing. But, it’s not a Mears thing. We rarely heard that growing up, and we pretty much only say it to each other in times of tragedy. Like today.
But, it doesn’t have to be said out loud to be real. The Mears family knows it’s real. We love each other. We like each other. We don’t argue, we don’t hold grudges, and we assume good intent. We show up. We show up for holidays and birthdays and graduations and Chiefs’ watch parties, and vacations, and game nights, and moving days, and weddings, and funerals.
And showing up will be harder without Julie there, but we’ll keep doing it, because that’s what you do for the people you love. So, maybe that’s the lesson.
I’ll keep you posted. She’s in good hands. And, she’s ready.