Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Dear Friends

It's Christmas Day. I am sitting next to Ellen who is lies sleeping in a hospital bed placed in the center of our living room. We are alone and quiet while her sisters, who have been here almost constantly for over a week, attend Christmas mass.
Ellen's cat, Iggy, her companion of 14 years is curled up next to her. It is beautiful to see them find comfort in each other.
Ellen has continued to decline in a short period of time. She is confined to the bed, unable to move as the right side of her body becomes weaker. She eats and drinks in small amounts. She sleeps lengths of time induced by pain relieving morphine. She cannot communicate, but understands those who come to visit. Words are no longer neccesary as she speaks with her eyes and a sweet smile for those lucky enough to catch her awake.
I sleep next to her at night, here on the sofa. I wake up often, checking on her, caring for her, telling her how much she is loved. I know she hears me, but I know she is going deeper and deeper into a place which is hers alone. Yesterday I went to the Father Seelos shrine to pray. Not for healing anymore, now I pray for her freedom. It will be so hard to lose her, but I know she is getting ready to leave.

I am asking you all to continue sending your words of love. I know they comfort her heart when I read them to her and I find great comfort in them as well.

I know she hears you.
much love,

I know she hears you.


Pam said...

Dear Cathy and Ellen,
My heart is with you. It sounds like Ellen has begun her journey. I think you have made good decisions, done everything right, and everything in a loving way. Two words come to mind to describe both you and Ellen - strength and grace. I am glad for her that she is not in pain, that she is in her home, with you and her sisters, and her cat. It's sweet that she is smiling... such a wonderful person she is!

Peggy Suarez said...

Dear Ellen & Cathy,
I read Cathy's post earlier, sat quietly for a few moments and sent you prayers and love. I am at a loss for words of comfort but I did want to share something with you. Later in the day, when my husband Gene and I sat down to dinner I shared your story. How I met Cathy through my sister Donna and although never met Ellen came to know about her through Donna. I was able to tell him about the story of how you met, the love you share, your life in New Orleans, and your journey with this illness. What our conversation ended with was the incredible power of intense, how uplifting, and at times how painful but in the end how it connects us, holds us, and affirms why we are here. It is the love the two of you have that we are all connecting with. May it give you all the strength you need to help you complete this journey. You have nurtured a spark....a feeling....and it flows in all of us that you have touched. As Zelda Fitzgerald so beautifully stated......"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold."

Hold your love and hold each other.


Debbie said...

Dearest Cathy & Ellen,

It's quiet here and my thoughts drift to you both. Ainsley is asleep here in the other room. She fell asleep in my arms again. She has often curled up there and drifted off to sleep. I don't think I'll ever stop her... even though she is getting so big that I can't hardy carry her to bed. I know the comfort of having loved ones near. I hope that you find that same comfort in New Orleans. I hope you feel the presents of our love as well. Near and far we send our love to you. In my minds eye, I see the glow of angels wings filling your living room as I write. May that glow fill your soul and give you peace.

Ellen, you have touched us. Your fire, your battle, your life, has touched us and we will carry you in our hearts. I hope you know how much we love you... I hope you know that I love you.

Cathy, your love for Ellen is so strong that it will carry you through. We will be here for you. We will love you and stand beside you. Give that little cajun a kiss for me and a little squeeze.

Lots of love,

Anonymous said...

sending sweet & deep wishes to you all!! my heart is with you!!!
all my love, Rone'

Heather said...

Aunt Cathy, As heartbreaking as they may be to write (and read), thank you for your words and for continuing to share the journey you and Ellen started. Your relationship has been such a blessing, even to those of us who have only been on its fringe. I'm so very glad that I had the opportunity to get to know Ellen, even just a little bit. The joy she brings to you has been so evident in your eyes and I will cherish every moment that I was able to spend with the two of you -especially in St Augustine. As I sat in church on Christmas Eve, you both were heavy on my heart and I prayed intensely for peace, strength, courage and comfort. And I also thanked God that he had placed Ellen in your life and you in hers...what a true gift you have been to each other. You are each other's angel and I love you dearly. Heather

Anonymous said...

As I look at my favorite Cathy Rose doll with "FAITH" written across her chest I remember my surprise at finding the word "GRACE" on the underclothes of that doll. Your faith in Ellen brings us all grace.
As horrendous as this process is I know you are doing everything right. Ellen couldn't be in better hands. I have faith in you.