August 18th

Dear President Trump,

Today is August 18th and it is our brother-in-law’s (BIL) 66th birthday. We are all happy for some strange, not very clear reason that he didn’t die one or two days shy of his birthday. Also, we are all happy for very clear reasons that he was moved out of the ICU and into hospice. There was one hold-out doctor who seemed to want to keep medicalizing BIL’s condition and couldn’t let the numbers go, but everyone else was completely on board with the decision to do everything possible to make BIL as comfortable as possible from here on out. He moved onto the hospice unit at about 11 today, and it has made a world of difference to see him relaxed and able to rest.

There was a parade of family and friends in and out all day, which was both wonderful and hard. Each new-to-the-room-person’s fresh grief restarted everyone else’s tears. It’s kind of like how when someone yawns, everyone else present needs to yawn too, but even more so. I hugged more crying people who I don’t know today than over the rest of my whole life combined. I also received more hugs from nurses and doctors (many with tears in their eyes) than I can even count. It’s pretty incredible how well people can show up and how we all just know what to do when there is unspeakable loss happening. It’s actually giving me hope that we (as in the US) will somehow make it through this dark time if we just keep coming back to the basics of taking care of one another.

On the way back to Laura’s brother’s house tonight we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things. I stayed in the car with the dogs (who got to go see BIL one last time). Outside the store there is a large display of about 25 artificial pumpkins of different sizes and shapes. It is August 18th and therefore there should not be pumpkins of any type outside of any grocery store. I had to triple check myself on this; were those really pumpkins? Yes. Is it October and I somehow dropped a bunch of time? No. Is it really BIL’s birthday and is he really dying and are there really stupid artificial pumpkins sitting outside a grocery store for people to buy? Yes.

Is the world sometimes completely messed up? Yes.

May we be safe to cry and grieve.
May we be happy to hug and hug and hug.
May we treasure our own and one anothers’ health and not take it for granted.
And may we make peace when health fails permanently and we need to let go.

Tracy Simpson

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