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Jan 16-22

This Week

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Hey friends - this is Robbie again, although I’m writing through lots of others’ support and guidance here. Since we last shared news about Tallu, she has been stable and fairly active, but her speech and energy have also been gradually changing. Since mid-November she traveled to Ashland City and Monteagle for two great Thanksgiving meals with family (the picture is with her parents from one of those). She went across town for a Christmas brunch. And most importantly for her, she has enjoyed many hot baths. 

She had a treatment at her medical clinic on Tuesday, but it was becoming clear to her and us that we would likely be deciding if that was the last treatment she could physically do, and the relief that the chemo was giving her seemed to be plateauing in light of her speech, her memory, and her changing sleep habits. Although it’s still unpredictable how coherent she’ll be on any given morning, we all realized that she needed more resources here at home, in her room where she still receives all the beloved letters and hears someone read all the correspondence y’all have been sending. We decided with her this week to ask hospice care to help us make meeting her needs easier on her and all of the brothers, cousins, parents, and friends who surround her.

We don’t know how her timeline will look now that she’s foregoing treatment options, but we’re aware that, although things could change quickly or slowly, we’re transitioning into a special time for her and us that will be tender, joyous, anguished, and full of love. And we are so grateful that you have been with her over these last 18 months (and long before) and will continue to make us feel so supported, near and far, for the future. We are trying to scramble to figure out ways you can be with her during this time, even if Covid means that we need to keep visitors to a minimum so that she and her family can be together. We are hoping that if it comes to it, just to make it easier on all the messengers here, you know that we’re relying on any visitors here to be as safe as possible about bringing other illnesses here at this stage (testing, avoiding exposure, and getting updated shots). This is a difficult time for all of this to be happening, but we have been learning how to connect with her and each other when conversation or in-person time isn’t possible (especially since she’ll be sleeping much more), and we know she would invite you to make yourself a cup of hot tea, take a walk around your neighborhood, or read some poetry (she loves so many poets but Mary Oliver is a favorite). 

As painful as some of these days are for me, I feel, and I sense that others around here feel, so assured that Tallu has been talking, writing, and thinking about her last stages and her death before any of us could even go there. At night she sleeps near her two kids who know she’s declining but also want to be with her how they can (especially in those cozy baths). During her awake times in the morning, she can sit with her parents, chat with her brother, or hear her cousin play some music. As hard as it is to watch her slipping away, she’s also showing us herself in wonderful and simple ways. As we talk to her, and when she hears but struggles to respond clearly, we are all listening to each other in a new way.

Our team here will keep everyone updated with any developments, and we hope to keep journaling about all the big and little moments as her health keeps changing and we surround her. We are so grateful to have this way of keeping everyone in the loop and connected to each other. Love to all, Robbie.

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