"I don't know what to tell you," says the doctor. "This is the way it is when someone is dying. It isn't the heart, the kidneys, any one thing anymore. They pass in and out of lucidity. And it's very hard to tell you what to expect." He's a good guy, this doctor, and we don't have unreasonable expectations, of him or of this process. We're all waiting, wishing it could be easier.
There seems to have been a change starting on the weekend. My father-in-law is very weak but still insisting on getting up even though his legs won’t hold him; they're giving him morphine now as well as a sedative, to try to keep his blood pressure down, help his groaning, and keep him a little more manageable because he's been really angry, disoriented, and unable to communicate what he wants. He's refusing his other medications, and today, even water, though he ate last night, and apparently it's been a real struggle to give him the morphine and lorazepam. It seems like we're getting down toward the end but that it's going to be a struggle right up to the final moment; J. and I will be heading down there again tomorrow.
Why the refusal to give up, to go gently? Because peace flowing out of a simple conclusion never suited this contradictory man, whose mind has wrestled with the big questions as long as it could - and perhaps still is, as he grapples with confusion, growing darkness, and the fear he might have been wrong. Life -- the material body and the rational mind -- are what he knows and what he can hold onto as true. The rest: unknowable, and, except in poetic speculation, that was never the territory he wanted to travel.