02-03-2005 The Circle of Love can sting


I’ve been aware of the Circle of Love for awhile. It showed up all last year. It was made up of me, my father, my mother and my sister. It was stretched pretty thin but, it never broke. It stretched from Memorial Hospital down to the Moffitt Center in Tampa and over to the West Marion Hospital in Ocala.


It gradually got smaller last week as mother started taking a turn for the worst. It started with my sister and my father. I was eventually drawn in. We were all drawn in by our love and commitment.


I am really surprised by it all. I never thought “I” would ever do anything like this. Never. Part of me wanted to run away and not participate. The other part drew me deeper into the circle.


Mother lost some ability each day. One day she lost the ability to walk down the hall to the bathroom. The next day she lost the ability to get out of bed and use the bedside commode. The next day she quit drinking carrot juice or anything that was life sustaining. The next day she lost the ability to drink water through a straw. The next day she couldn’t handle ice. Finally, we used a syringe to give her water and medicine.


Each day our commitment to the circle grew. My sister started by spending the night. I started by going over more often. Eventually, I started spending the night so my sister could take a break and go home.


Things are kinda blurring together now. I think it was Monday around 4:00 am when my sister called concerned that mother was getting really bad. My father decided to call my aunt, her sister. I sent her an email update as well. She arrived from Tennessee late that afternoon. We found out this was a big mistake.


You see… the Circle of Love had formed around my mother. We were like worker bees tending to the queen bee. We just didn’t understand what that really meant. The circle was fixed. There was no room for anymore bees. None. She said my aunt, her sister, had to go home. That was not easy to do. Trust me. I was the #1 bee assigned to carrying out her wishes. We had enough stress dealing with her daily decline to have to add that to the mixture.


On the surface it looked as if we were trying to exclude a new bee. However, the queen bee had taken control and decided who the worker bees were going to be… and that was IT. Whoa. Talk about a rough time. I think she decided that we had to grow up and take on this responsibility. Nobody else was going to be allowed to do it. Secretly, I would’ve loved to have passed the baton on that one. It was NOT to be.


The circle became really active after that. Nobody got through the outer perimeter freely again… nobody. Even close friends were turned away. Nothing was allowed to disrupt the circle… the support group. We were to stay focused on the queen until the end, and we did.