Jeanie Wylie came home last night. I broke my fast on Lebanese
take-out (I'm up at 3:30 am with guts roiling). The host of tiny white
lights that adorn the 60-foot tree before our house burn now in
celebration as they have in vigil the last two weeks. Tomorrow the
circuits will get their rest.
Yesterday when I went into the hospital, Jeanie was up and
about, packing unprompted for home (!), everything laid out in tidy
piles on the bed in preparation. After a proper greeting, she turned
toward the Betty LaDuke poster we'd hung on her wall and said, "Isn't
that painting beautiful? There's so much going on." Sentences
effortless, lucid, and complete. For forty-five minutes downstairs in
rehab, she was completely focused and co-ordinated, climbing stairs,
getting in and out of mocked-up car doors, and otherwise demonstrating
her readiness. Doctors paraded through with smiles agog and tears
welling in their eyes. It seemed we were all suddenly looking back on
the corner we'd been praying she'd t urn.
She still gets stuck mid-sentence, searches for words, or
forgets she's already listened to the phone messages, but Jeanie's
clearly busy rerouting circuits to her brain's place of naming.
Day before yesterday Lucy and I sat in the morris-chair
discussing how we'd get her some weekly counsel time; today the girls
dance giddy and Lydia runs house to house on the block with good news
she never really doubted. Two days ago I was fighting not to be haunted
by a string of second-guessed decisions; in the light of today I think
we made some good calls and know once again that second-guessed
self-accusations are pointless if not faithless. Two days back I was
turning my head away in tears as we discussed the merits of hospice with
physicians and social workers; this morning I can fully imagine Jeanie
editing yet another issue of the magazine. Then, I figured if she joined
the Peace Community's Good Friday Way of the Cross streetwalk, it would
be in silence by wheelchair, today I see her on foot, reading prayers
aloud at each stop and later at her favorite service of all: the Easter
So what turned this amazing tide? Lord knows. It coincides with
several things. I began surreptitious resumption of the NDV (chicken
virus) treatment. She and I would repair to the bathroom and shoot up.
(Actually, I did alert one of the doctors to my intention). Based on
high blood levels, they also began reducing the dosage of Jeanie's new
seizure medication. There is, needless to say, the coincident mystery of
"time" which one of the doctors persisted in urging us to wait up on.
And, of course, that other mystery: prayers more numerous, more
numinous, than lights upon the lenten tree.
Thank you, dear friends, for vigiling with us yet again. Forgive
us the changes we must put you through. You, however, hold us steady and
lighten our hearts .
Til we walk those streets together, Bill