Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December 5, 2019

The past month has been a whirlwind. It started with my election to the Jamesburg Board of Education on November 5th and continued with a travel schedule for work that has more than tripled my typical days on the road. Now, as the hours creep closer and closer to December 5th, I find myself in a hotel room in Boston doing a lot of remembering. Tomorrow will be eight years since Joe died and even eight years later this week brings up a whole range of emotions. There are still moments of deep sadness for sure, but as I sit here in the city where we spent our honeymoon I realized that what I feel most is grateful.

I am grateful for who he was and who we were as a couple. I am grateful for how our relationship shaped me then and continues to shape me now. And I am grateful that he lives on in so many ways. He's in that first sound of a new Greg Dulli song or the crack of a bat at a Mets game. He's in the nooks and crannies of our home and each moment that I try like hell to model his patience. And he is most definitely in our son Domani and the countless friends and family members who have continued to love us like he did.

As I was waiting at the airport earlier I started reading back on my old CaringBridge blog posts from the days before Joe died. It's been awhile since I've looked back on them, but I'm glad I did.

In their own way, they reminded me of the preciousness of Joe and me - the preciousness of Joe and me which became the beauty of Joe and me and Domani and then the strength of Domani and me and all who loved Joe. I thought it made sense to share those posts here today.

Journal entry by Anne Luck-Deak — Nov 30, 2011
It is late and we are all quite tired in the Deak household. After a long night last night which included a visit from the hospice nurse, we went to Joe's oncologist today. Joe had been scheduled for his next chemo treatment, but given his weakened state it was hard to believe they would do it. That proved correct but on top of that we were told by the doctor covering for Joe's regular oncologist that no further treatments would be possible. A punch in the gut. And she wasn't particularly helpful or sympathetic. Another punch in the gut. While we were there Joe was given oxygen and some fluids. He also had a nice nap while receiving the fluids. Thankfully, after returning home We got a visit from his hospice nurse and later a call from his regular oncologist. His oncologist's heartbreaking conclusion was still the same but it was helpful to have our questions answered and to hear the details about his reasoning. 

The honest truth is that it was very difficult for Joe to travel to Basking Ridge today. His weakened state makes even a walk from the living room to the bedroom a difficult task, let alone walking around to get ready and then out to the car. It would just be too much for him to continue going through the motions of treatments which aren't really having an impact on the cancer. We will receive some additional services from hospice and are still considering any other possible options for Joe. Please pray for wisdom in how to proceed and for peace during this seemingly impossible time. As difficult as today was, it was nice to come home to a freshly cleaned house and some yummy food in the fridge. We have the most amazing support network and I have a suspicion it will only get better. Love to you all!


Journal entry by Anne Luck-Deak — Dec 2, 2011
As difficult as the last few days have been I am happy that now, finally, my husband and I can share a bedroom again. With the delivery of his hospital bed today and a borrowed twin bed for me we are now back to sleeping in the same room. No more living room/bedroom split. It's a simple thing, but something that makes both of us smile.
Given his weakened state, Joe is unable to walk now without assistance and he requires help with his medications and with the overall management of his symptoms. It is becoming quite a team effort with help from a full hospice team and many loving family and friends. It took very little time today to prepare our bedroom for our new sleeping arrangements. Everyone who was here pitched in to help move things, including the hospice social worker.We are feeling very supported.
The highlight of the day for me (aside from TWO yummy giant chocolate chip cookies from Mendoker's) was time spent looking through some photo albums with Joe. We looked back over our trip earlier this year to Cooperstown, NY (Domani's first vacation) and reminisced about our honeymoon in Boston (Duck Boat ride, Megatouch at the local bar, dinner at the table where JFK proposed to Jackie, a tour of Fenway, and the most amazing Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker Hotel were all highlights).
While it is frustrating to see Joe's health in decline, I am reminded of just how blessed we are to have had our paths cross again the way that they did. He is one amazing guy and together we make a darn good team.
A special hello to all those who have started following this blog in the last few days. You all have kept me busy approving requests, but with each one I know there is another person (or family) supporting us in thought and prayer. Thank you for being here and joining us through our journey.

Journal entry by Anne Luck-Deak — Dec 4, 2011
Joe had a difficult night last night. His breathing is much more labored and his blood pressure is high. After being up all night and a visit from the hospice nurse this morning, the decision was made to move him to 24-hour nursing care in our home. Star (love the imagery of her name) arrived this morning and will be here until 7pm. She has been helping us to take great care of Joe. With assistance, he just made the move from his hospital bed in our bedroom to his La-Z-Boy in the living room. Our project for the day is to keep him comfortable and surround him with love. As much as possible we will read to him the cards and notes we receive (both IRL and on this blog!) On behalf of our whole family, we thank you for the outpouring of support we have received. It is helping to sustain us through this unimaginable time. Hug your loved ones and smile at a stranger. Today only comes once.


Journal entry by Anne Luck-Deak — Dec 4, 2011
After a day of being with each other and being with Joe, I am here in the bedroom with him and the nurse while my Dad puts Domani to sleep. Joe is resting comfortably, but has been non-responsive since about 3pm. That has certainly not stopped us from reading him emails and posts and sharing our own musings with him. Although it arrived much too quickly, it was a good family day. I just wish it weren't a part of saying goodbye to my best friend. There were tender moments: Domani "brushing" Daddy's hair In the morning and then later in the day grabbing Joe's hand and saying DaDa (along with a few other random syllables.) His kind words to me this morning about my support to him. Visits from some dear family and friends. The smile on his face while I massaged his feet. I am just happy to know that he was able to hear so much love from so many people today. Thank you all. Will do my best to keep you up to date.


Journal entry by Anne Luck-Deak — Dec 5, 2011
Joe passed away peacefully this morning just before 6am. I was there in the room with him and had just laid down to rest on my bed next to his when he took his last breath. He is finally done battling and at peace. Heather Diaforli-Day continues to coordinate assistance for our family including the provision of meals. I will post updates regarding services and other ways you can assist our family in the coming days. Thanks for standing with me, Joe, and Domani and letting us know how very much we are loved.

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