I came across a video from my phone of the day John came home with hospice (in December, just days before Christmas) when the kids came home from school and realized he was home and got to see him AT home for the first time in nearly 2 months. They had seen him in the hospital a handful of times once he was transferred back to our city but he hadn't been home since the diagnosis. It had been some 50-odd days or so since he had returned to our home.
I didn’t realize what the video WAS when I went to watch it (I was cleaning out old photos and whatnot from my iPhone). You couldn’t tell what it was going to be of. I didn’t even remember I had made a video of that day. It's of all 4 of my kids, so excited to have him home, and asking him questions and showering him with hugs and kisses.
I wasn’t exactly ready for that kind of video, especially with him talking so much in it. I knew I had short clips with him in them saved away, but I had gotten my new phone pretty shortly before his diagnosis so I had very little in the way of videos of him on my current phone (one was the air hockey video that I posted, but I don't know that he speaks much in it...if he does, its very little, and it was taken from behind him, I don't think his face is ever visible in it). I knew he had recorded books for the kids and that I could hear his voice that way too...but I didn't think I could really listen to that yet...even though its hard to remember his voice already.
I know that probably sounds stupid because of how much I miss him, and that you'd think I'd WANT to watch those videos or listen to those recordings all the time…but look, grief doesn’t make sense most of the time. That’s just how it is.
It was…bittersweet. I cried like a baby but it was nice to hear his voice- and to see him, still alive. Nice but in a really, really depressing way. Nice like it was great to ‘see’ him but it made me so sad because now I CANT see him or hear his voice when I want. Videos are all I will have from now on.
But in the video he’s joking around with the kids and being so affectionate to them and he’s so…beautiful.
He sounds almost happy...I guess he probably was in that moment, being reunited with our children. Or as happy as a dying man could be, I guess, despite being able to be around the kids. I'm sure it was hard to be 100% happy, knowing you were sent home to die, knowing you were leaving behind a family who would be left in tatters once you were gone.
But when you watch the video, you watch it knowing he was already so sick but still SO full of life, even if he was essentially confined to a bed. He could talk and joke around, move his body from the waist up, was completely articulate, and…he was HIM. Just a dying him. But he didn't usually look sick (I attest that to no chemo and the steroids he was on making him eat constantly, so he never lost a lot of weight and had that "gaunt because of cancer" look), and in this video he just looks so…normal. Almost normal, anyway...if you ignore the fact that he is in a hospital gown and in a hospital bed in my bedroom.
I miss him so much, sometimes I wonder how I even keep breathing or how my heart doesn’t just choose to wither like some water deprived plant and stop me from living.