Perfect Practice

We, my husband and I, have crossed the threshold from young and invincible to aging and merely mortal.

I’ve been preparing myself (for at least a decade) for the end of me, whereby I have an invitation only bon voyage with the velvet rope and a doorman. I have read my voluminous, advance directive to my husband until his eyes glazed over. I’ve coerced a bevy of doctors to support my wish to die, with dignity, on my own terms. I have researched ways to make my retreat according to my schedule; covered everything from helium to bulletts to pharmaceuticals to hasten an otherwise graceless end.

I had never made a plan for life without my husband. I’ve made several plans, involving frying pans and oars, to help him gently “into that good night” but, as with so many other things in our life, I just assumed he would take direction from me when it was time for us to depart- together.

We had a humbling scare. We’ve traipsed through doctors’ offices, had consultations, where my husband has been poked, prodded and explored in a manner most undignified. We held on tight and we got through. All of the things we hoped for in this amazing alliance, the things we hold dear in our extraordinarily vocal union, have never been more evident.

I will not be making a plan for life without my husband. My husband is my life; in spite of his many flaws, he is my favorite person in the universe. Knowing him has made me a better, more tolerant, human being. It is my hope that we will live long enough for me to return the favor.

Until that time, far off in the distant future, some things have changed around here. Routines are better suited to my vision of our life. A few patterns have remained obstinately ingrained, bad habits that refuse to be corrected. Luckily, we’ve been given an opportunity to continue practicing until we get it right.


About elroyjones

Equal Elroy, searching for the best answer.
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26 Responses to Perfect Practice

  1. hanslr says:

    Such experiences truly are humbling. So glad you both came out of it on the better side.

  2. When shit happens, the experience has a way of letting you know just how little control you have over some events. I do agree that it’s more humane to go on your own terms than be fed and bathed and not even be aware of the process. The most primal of life’s functions belong to us, not the medical business.

    • elroyjones says:

      Medicine is, above all else, a business. Having worked in hospital administration, I have experience to defend that statement. Most of the clinical medical professionals, I know, are continually frustrated by the impediment of cost in quality of care. I watched a Frontline piece titled Final Exit, I think but I can’t be certain because I’m getting feebleminded, which offered some interesting perspectives on the way we, Americans, approach the end of life.
      If we have learned nothing else from our experience, I now know exactly what my husband wants so I am better equipped to see that his wishes are respected.
      Good to hear from you, Tim.

  3. “frying pans and oars to help him go gently “into that good night…” Hilarious. I know a couple who near the end of their marriage dared not go deer hunting together…. 🙂

    Love your refreshing candor.

    • elroyjones says:

      One of us would be dead and the other would be on the inside looking out, if we’d had weapons in the early years of our marriage. I have never attained the heights of sheer unmitigated temper that I have ascended as a consequence of the marital affiliation.
      Both of us are afflicted by opinions, it’s an interesting situation. As always, happy to hear from you.

  4. Really? Because on his blog he says he is just going to throw some dirt over you in the back yard as soon as your breathing slows down a little.
    (Ha! I am just messing with you. That may have been the most beautiful post ever, so I use my natural survival humor to cover the tears. I guess the part about him having problems wasn’t that funny, but it did add to the poineancy… poiniancy…poiniencee… teariness.

  5. Doug says:

    When it’s curtains, no Grateful Dead encore for me either…so applaud you on setting the terms of your terminal with the Sawbones.

    Your missive be great news as I’ve repeatedly clicked through to find an Elroy Jones update. Here’s to many long years of flaws and guffaws, and oars and frying pans.

    And, as they say on the Interwebs, the human condition is, simultaneously, a bug and a feature. They do say that, right?

    and the best to your best buddy.

    • elroyjones says:

      Thank you, Doug. Every time I felt the chill of fear, I thought of my tiger patting friends in Chicago and assertively asked for more information in the next step in the process.
      You make me grin- “simultaneously, a bug and a feature. They do say that, right?” I know they must, I think I’ve seen it myself!

  6. judithatwood says:

    Dear Elroy,

    I know how frightening any medical difficulties can be. And for this to happen while you were making plans for your own departure, that of someone you love is never that easy, is it. Thank everything that’s holy that your husband came through, and that you do have another chance. I’m very happy for the both of you.

  7. timetales says:

    Perfecting the art of the shadow warrior never ends!

  8. George says:

    Been there and done that, my dear, and it sucks. I hope all is well now, or at least more stable.

    When you’ve been with someone you care about for a very long time there’s almost no way you can envision life without them. That’s likely the way it’s supposed to be. The trick seems to be finding that instant in time when all in love can be here one minute and gone—together—the next.

    [smiling like a big dog here] Life AND death on your terms: you do have a thing about control, don’t you my friend!

    Seriously though, I hope you have many, many years of happiness AND fun AND fulfillment AND relaxation with your hubby: the man who sets the standard for all other men!

  9. elroyjones says:

    I need to have control; I don’t do well in chaos.
    My husband is ridiculously spoiled. I don’t know how it happened but I’m pretty sure he tricked me!

  10. Halahblue says:

    So happy that you have both come through a tough experience stronger.

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