Jane continued this morning writing about Jim's parents. Here are her lovely words to honor and share.
I never met my in-laws. They had both died the year before my husband and I started dating seriously. But they still play a role in my life. My mother-in-law, a school librarian in her later years, drew such a steady stream of visitors in her last days that they moved her bed into the dining room. She never refused one visitor, even til the day she died. Her hospice nurse had never seen anything like the procession that passed through that house.
My father-in-law, older than she by almost a decade, stopped talking when she died. It wasn¹t that he refused. It was just by the time he got to the end of a sentence it was a different sentence than the one he¹d started.
Eventually he just let go into the silence. But he could still read poetry and even speak out whole poems he still held in memory. As he grew more frail, his sons came to stay with him. Then, instead of conversation about the weather, they¹d read poetry to their father:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to the sunless sea.
Eventually, when both sons had to return to their lives or families, it was clear that their dad would need round-the-clock care in a nursing home. My husband and his brother found a suitable one. My father-in law went. My husband and his brother left and with them took those long daily exhalations of poetry. Within days, my father-in-law was gone. He had just stopped eating.
I like to think he was so full of breath and word that he just floated away.