Michael took a turn for the worse over the weekend. Shaky, weak, sleeping all the time. This was after a very trying few weeks where he was active and mobile but so confused as to be opening the doors and throwing cans of soup at invisible skunks. (I realize that sounds funny and it would have been if not followed by an almost catatonic state.)

I went back to work yesterday. There were a lot of emotions involved in leaving, for the first time since September, for 14 hours. I spoke to hospice and my caregiver at lunchtime. He wasn’t eating much or drinking and hasn’t been up. Drinking is important. We need him to drink.

But the biggest challenge for me was stepping off the train and seeing the lines of cars there to pick people up. I knew I’d never see Michael in that line again. There was something always comforting about him being there to pick me up. Being there for me like no one else has ever been. Strong, silent, dependable. Hi honey. How was your day? Those small, inconsequential conversations gone from my life.

It was a hurdle I knew would be tough to face…and it was. It was very sad for me.

I drove to the store and then home feeling more alone than I’ve ever been…and those who know me know I’ve spent a great deal of my life feeling alone…but Michael was my partner and companion and trustworthy rock for 12 years…and now that is gone and I feel so utterly alone again.

I came home and visited with him a while. He’s not doing well. He did drink for me and smiled when I came in.

And that smile meant the world to me. It’s not the steady rock at the train station…but…it’s…something.

Something I cling to.