Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Party's Over - or was he ready for another one?

Our move to the apartment was interesting to say the least. Hospice sent a hospital bed over to our apartment right away. It adjusted at the head and feet which was great for Vinnie since it was so hard for him to get comfortable. He 'slept' most of the time but it was a restless sleep; he usually tossed, turned, and got up often. He was given an air mattress which moved under him as he did. It made a lot of noise at night. So did Vinnie. These are not good for someone (like me) who learned after 24 years of being a mother, to be a light sleeper. (Photos are more of Vinnie with friends and family at his celebration party)

Vinnie was not only making a lot of noise at night by tossing and turning and getting up to sit in a chair which I had put a massaging pad on, or to sleep on the floor which he did often, he was also talking and "traveling" as the hospice nurse described it. Before our move to the apartment, Vinnie had a vision on night that baffled him (and me). He was reaching for something in his sleep and moaning like he was trying to talk. I was trying to get him up to go to work. He was acting weird. When he was finally up, I asked him about the dream. He said there were angels 'there' and they wouldn't talk to him. He later said, "I just can't figure out what they were doing and why they wouldn't answer me when I talked to them!" He also asked me if I saw them. They were so real to him that he couldn't believe I hadn't seen them too. I hadn't.

The hospice nurse described this as a normal event for someone who is 'traveling'. Traveling for the terminal patient is going in and out of this realm on earth and the one to follow. As a Christian, we knew his visions and 'travels' were of Heaven. As time progressed, he had more and more dreams. One morning while his sister was visiting from New York and having a difficult time accepting that she would have to say "good-bye" to her brother, he asked her if she remembered what he did when their dad passed away 25 years ago. Apparently, while their dad was in a coma for almost a month, and their mother cried every day, Vinnie decided to do something to make her laugh. He propped their dad up in bed, put his glasses on his face and a newspaper in his hand. He yelled for his mother to come because his dad was asking for her. They all hit him of course, but it made them all laugh. (Remember from a previous plot that I mentioned that Vinnie was a real joker?)

He asked her this because he had encountered a visit that night from
his dad. He saw his dad and he was reading a newspaper and turning the page! This made them both cry together. She was then able to understand that it was okay for him to leave. She told Vinnie it was okay to 'go home' and be with Daddy. The really COOL thing is that I was in the room when he told her this. He got up a few minutes later and went back to bed. His sister came over to tell me what Vinnie had said. I told her that I heard what he said. She asked, "You understand Italian?" I said, no he was speaking English. She heard the story in Italian and I heard it in English! It makes sense that he would have said it in Italian. Her Italian is better than her English. The story took place in Italy, with his Italian family, and he was telling the story to her. He wasn't talking to me but God wanted me to hear the story and allowed me to hear it in English. For all those who think that God doesn't do things the same way He did in Biblical days, think again!

After we moved, many of Vinnie's visions were of parties, feasts, lot of company and people. There were cute children, golden retrievers, and 'nice people' everywhere. He ate, drank, and got ready for big parties with lots of food (we all love a good meal out!). It didn't seem that Vinnie was reliving his Celebration Party. It seemed that Vinnie was preparing for another one. One we would not be eating at with him. Everyday it seemed he was more "there' and less and less here and we wondered each day if it was his last. We just didn't know what to expect.

He was getting stronger and stronger doses of pain medicine prescribed each week. His pain was almost unbearable. But one day, out of the blue, he got up and was full of energy. He ate all day long - real meals and snacks and drinks. We hadn't seen him like that in months! He took care of the bills, put the computer together, moved some furniture and had an accountant come over to
hand over one of his accounts! To top it off, he hadn't taken pain medicine all day!!!! He thought that maybe there had been a miracle and he was healed. He was determined to call the doctor in the morning and demand another scan. He really thought his cancer had been taken away. We weren't sure what to think. I had read that a person who is close to death will often times have a day near the end when they are full of energy. It is a symptom that is sometimes called, 'housekeeping'. It's sort of like the maternal instinct that a pregnant woman experiences a day or two before she gives birth. The hospice nurse continually referred to the death process like that of childhood backwards (although I thought that for a Christian it might more accurately be described as one preparing to be born again into the next realm of life - after all, they leave a place of darkness and go where there is light) This was a clear indication that Vinnie was sure to be going Home soon. The night of his "hopeful healing' he was in agony and couldn't get enough pain medicine. He died 10 days later.

The hospice nurse explained this phenomenon as spiritual energy.
The body is preparing to separate and experiences a surge of energy often expressed by the sudden urge and ability to 'tie up lose ends". Hospice staff see so much of this experience every day that they have drawn some pretty fair conclusions according to the similar experiences and description of the experiences they hear and see from their patience, even though each person's experience is unique. It was hard to not imagine that Vinnie was getting ready for another party - one that we weren't going to be at with him. That was a very sad thought for me; but a happy one for him. (This picture is of the standing ovation Vinnie got at the end of his celebration party! It was awesome!)

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