Sunday, September 1, 2019

#WhoseHospice Stories for Info and Edo, Part 2

Still three nice guys on the same page, tra la

Get up to speed with Part 1 here

Jack and Jill and Golf and a Hill, Part 2

The spot was perfect, and I was just starting to wonder if anyone had brought Jack's clubs to the graveside service, when I saw it leaning smartly against his box of cremains, the club he was most fond of - a vintage Spaulding Executive 7 wood, marketed to women golfers.

“You can laugh all you want,” Jack had said to me not long before, gesturing to the wall by his hospital bed where it hung like a favorite fishing rod. “But I scored two Aces with that ladies’ club.”

“Now he sleeps closer to that ladies’ club than he does to this lady,” Jill chuckled. “That’s what it means to get old.”

They sat as closely together as they could, holding hands - Jack lying in his bulky recliner, Jill erect on her electric scooter.  We were talking about his illness, and how it began. 

“I played six rounds in the last two weeks of April. Eighteen holes every time. I felt great. I won a few, and a couple of early tournaments were coming up, when - BAM! One morning my back started to hurt, and by noon I was crying to go to the hospital.” 

“He never once complained before that. Never,” Jill said. “He never missed work, and never missed a chance to play golf. I called the ambulance. Our friends took me to the hospital for the next few days.”

Their medical team on the Cape quickly diagnosed Jack’s advanced cancer. At the urging of their adult children, he and Jill agreed to return to their former home, where they could explore treatment options in nearby Boston. 

Jack decided against that plan somewhere along the ride from the Cape. “I was miserable. In pain. Scared. Scared for her. I wanted to throw up, jump out of the car, do something, and I knew it was just going to get worse and then I’d die. I couldn’t see myself going in and out of Boston, feeling sicker than I already did, putting everyone else through that for who knows how long? And for what?”

He shrugged, “So we ended up calling you guys.”

Jill dabbed at her cheeks with a fresh tissue.

“Well, not right away. I needed to convince the boss. Once she agreed we started singing that beautiful song by Frank Sinatra, you know, the one from his later years…”

Here they put their heads together, eyes closed, arms around each other, and sang -

“And now, the end is near 
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear 
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full 
I've traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this 
I did it HER way!”

To be continued...