Tuesday, Sandi's friend Hannah came to visit. She spent 2+ hours sitting with Sandi, loving on her. When the time came for Hannah to leave, I asked her if Sandi had said anything to her, or responded to her in any way. While Hannah was blessed by spending time with Sandi, there was sadness when she answered that Sandi was not able to find the energy or consciousness to respond. Then... Hannah realized she had forgotten her scarf upstairs. In the 5 seconds she was in the room to retrieve it, Sandi opened her eyes and whispered "I love you". What a blessing.
We are walking through a series of lasts. Last joke (there's only one Sandi tells and she told it), last bite of food (grape popsicle), last words (possibly her words to Hannah), eventually, some time soon, last breath.
For the past several days, though her ability to respond has been limited, it is very clear Sandi has still been with us, listening. Subtle reactions to conversations, jokes, songs, whispers. It has taken some learning to see and understand these small communications, but having understood them, I've gotten a few more treasured days with her. Not just me, but other people who she loves dearly. However, I have covetously claimed night shift where I get to hold her hand for hours on end, something she would never normally sit still for.
Even now I'm learning what an amazing person she is. The raw number of people she's profoundly affected is huge. Sandi has helped so many people take on their own challenges and expand their possibilities, and realities... always thinking of someone else, and how she could help. Sandi has never been one to think anything was to hard, or out of reach. Sandi can make almost anything happen just by refusing to accept that any challenge is insurmountable. Get busy getting it done rather than admiring the problem. That is her way.
Helping Sandi this week, in the finishing days of her life, has been simultaneously the most difficult thing I've ever done, and yet also the easiest thing I have ever done. It is no burden and I wouldn't trade a moment of it.
Through all this, I am unbelievably grateful for the friends and family around us. Sandi, I, and all the kids are truly blessed. Fair warning though, your job isn't over when we turn the next corner.
For now, we're just admiring the sunset of a spectacular day.