wings and things

The Joe story 5 (final excerpt)

on June 22, 2012

The following excerpt skips 200 pages from the last one and is part of the last chapter of the book.


Joe was dying.

I would chatter away, holding his hand, sitting on the side of his bed. He would look at me, then look away, then look at me again. His eyes, which had been so blank and uninterested when I first met him, and had then, for such a short time, become so twinkly and mischievous, now alternated again between blankness, bewilderment and obvious physical pain.

Joe stopped speaking altogether.

I cannot presume to know what he was thinking, what he was trying to say when he opened his mouth and nothing came out. But I did know the dreadful pressure of his hand a few hours before he died, the groaning sound in his chest, the whispered barely audible nonwords, the rough, familiar feel of this cheek, and the tears which stood in his eyes in a proud kind of way, as I kissed him goodnight for the last time. [pgs. 203-204]

28 responses to “The Joe story 5 (final excerpt)

  1. Good that you were there for him.

  2. I bet you were like an angel to him. What a beautiful story. what a beautiful heart you have.

  3. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh gosh Julie–this was such an intense relationship….you are a true empath. I can’t imagine what this experience felt like. It seems very much like a ‘destiny’ kind of thing for both you and Joe. I am glad you were part of his life… was a blessing ~ and know he left you with gifts as well.

    • jmgoyder says:

      My entire perspective and attitude was altered by Joe (not his real name of course). Since Joe, I have always listened to people with dementia and ‘gone along’ with the stories no matter how far-fetched. It is beginning to happen like that with Ants now but at least I am equipped to understand and respond.

      • Robyn Lee says:

        Amazing how Joe was your teacher too – and now how it serves you better in coping with Anthony’s situation. There has to be a force greater than we understand at work – yes? You are so wonderful Julie!

      • jmgoyder says:

        Yes, it is strange how thinks turn out….

  4. Judith Post says:

    Joe is so lucky he met you. You gave him a nice finish to his life.

  5. dcwisdom says:

    With Dad, too. At least, he passed easily with the assistance of morphine. Slow deaths are agonizing for all. Bless Joe!

  6. cuhome says:

    Sounds very much like you were his last comfort! What a warming thought!

  7. Rhonda says:

    I am crying but my heart is filled with such tenderness. You are an amazing woman. The lives that have touched yours…that you have touched…that touch us. Incredible. Thank you.

  8. bluebee says:

    Your story of Joe is fascinatng, Julie. I cannot imagine how disorientating and frightening it must be to have this disease – it has so many strange facets. A few years back I was a volunteer for the local community aid and for almost 2 years spent fortnightly Saturday afternoons taking a lady with Alzheimers for a fairly lengthy walk in the local area of the hostel in which she lived. She had her piano in her little apartment in the secure wing and could still play it beautifully but would not remember who I was from week to the next (although always pretended to recognize me) and would always point to the people playing “golf” at the local tennis club. One day she had a fall while we were out walking, which was rather traumatic for both of us, but the strange thing is that it was something that she did remember for weeks afterwards, which I found quite astounding.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Your story of the lady’s ongoing memory of the fall reconfirms to me that short term memory IS possible in Alzheimer’s Disease, no matter what the scientists say – thanks for giving me more food for thought!

  9. […] worth reading….  The Joe Story – Part 1,     Part 2,    Part 3,      Part 4, Part 5. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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