Robert West's Journal
The transition deepens
Written Jun 4, 2013 6:31am by betsy kahnGood day all,
Robert's transition is deepening, and he is at peace. In a perfect world, I think he would have slipped away before now but his body hasn't caught up with his mind and his heart.
The amazing Bruna, his Hospice RN, is doing an incredible job of making sure his medications are relieving any pain and anxiety. His needs change daily and the focus is on keeping Robert comfortable.
Visitors are still welcome; please keep in mind that visits need to be short and quiet. And he may appear to have confusion, but that apparently comes at this point in the journey, having one foot in each world.
The care team is vigilant; it is an honor to be a part of Robert's transition and we are all taking the job very seriously. Feel free to send positive energy and as Robert always instructs us, be of good cheer.
Beginning the peaceful process
Written May 29, 2013 5:00pm by betsy kahnGood evening everyone,
Robert asked me today to give you a brief, low key update on his current status.
Robert has been back at the Firehouse since last Friday. He is resting comfortably, beginning the transitional process, very at peace and taking one day at a time. Visitors during the day would be great; there's usually a note on the door if he's not receiving company.
There's really not much more to report at this time, except to encourage you to be of good cheer, as Robert would ask of you.
TWO SHORT RANTS I WANT TO SHARE
Written May 18, 2013 12:09pm by Robert West
Throughout this journey I invited you to stay engaged with me and be authentic – to engage with me as the Robert you know, not as a Robert who is unknown or now is in some rarified world, and alien to you. And you all have done that in so many ways – and for that I am eternally grateful.
Ironically the way we have stayed connected is through technology. And yet it has been when I have literally been disconnected these past few months, especially during my time at Windy Point, that I have felt a sense of renewal, that I have been able to deeply appreciate the moment, that I have been able to embrace my face to face connection with nature, family, beloved friends and loved ones, the sun, the moon, the stars, the water, the wind, my days and my nights and l have learned a great lesson – one I want to pass on and truly implore you to embrace – or just try it (and think of me).
Rant #1: THE BENEFIT OF DISCONNECTING.
THE BENEFIT OF DISCONNECTING was huge for me and something I urge all of you to do as part of your everyday life.
Disconnecting from technology for even short periods of time at Windy Point made me remember what life was like before we were connected to screens and technology all the time – before the I phone, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.
I know it’s a battle to turn off your cell phone when you’re at home or when you’re out on a walk… but wage the battle, turn it off.
When I went to Windy Point I stopped checking my cell phone all the time. I went on face book twice a week. I took walks without the cellphone, I left it at home. Why take it with you? Do you really need to be reached all the time at all times?
In the UK they have started something called 10 Things you need to do before you are 11 and ½ that includes things like: Sit on a wall, Walk in the woods…
Remember what it was like when we were kids without technology?
Rant #2: BE WHO YOU ARE
We won the fight for gay marriage; that is going to happen we know that. But that is only one fight. What the gay community needs to think about now, and more importantly fight for, is the right to be who you are. Because being gay does not mean you have to have a partner, and get married and have kids…
Being gay means you have the right to be who you are.
When I was 25 I worked in a bookstore with Isabelle who was 71. And we would walk to her house after work and drink gin. She was a brilliant, angry, playwright who had a play open and close on Broadway in one night. On one of those wonderful after work gin swilling sessions she looked at me and said: ROBERT BE WHO YOU ARE.
I was not out. Isabelle knew who I was. I came out the next day.
I was twenty-five. And I have been out ever since. In fact I turned 60 last month.
And that is the task for the Gay community now -- for us to fight for the right to “be who we are.”
Gay marriage cannot be the ONLY measure of what it means to be gay -- for ourselves or for the straight community. We should celebrate and support each other no matter how different we may be. We could be single and not want a partner. We could be transgender, Asian or African American. We are fifteen years old and we are 85-years-old. We are HIV positive and we are not. The Gay community will not and does not look the same. We need to let go of “one gay person is better than another.” We are in this fight together. We are all members of the gay community and we have to think about how we support each other so that everyone can be WHO THEY ARE.
For today this is where I am.
I am in room 12 at Lower Cape Fear Hospice.
Here is the address:
1406 Physicians Drive
Wilmington, NC 28401
Hospice is sometimes misunderstood. It means my palliative care is being fully managed. Everyday they do a new assessment and it may be that they stabilize me and I go home to the Fire House. We are taking it one day at a time. And today I am in good spirits.
Be of Good Cheer,
Co-Editors Betsy and Judith