I’d LIKE to think sharing this article is not like drinking spoiled milk and going “oh my God- taste this!”
It was hard to read. Read it!
It’s an article by a favorite writer of mine about mothering her dying friend through Hospice care. And the whole article is lovely and haunting, what with it’s ripping the curtain back from the Wizard of Oz- only it’s Death, always Death behind the curtain. (Jesuschrist, woman. Downer much on a Sunday?) So yes- the whole article is hard to read- but important. The thought that gets me is that her friend asked for champagne, right before she died. She was told, “No, it’s 6am we don’t have any champagne.” God help me- god help me to give someone champagne. Please – please let someone give me champagne before I die if that’s what I want. Agh. It’s the detail that gets me on that. For some reason that’s the thing that haunts me.
I think it haunts me because I can draw correlations to my grandfather’s last day. He was very antsy. Plucking at the arms of his wheel chair. Agitated. He wanted to stand repeatedly. In the middle of a small concert of hymns. In his room. In the hallway. I called an orderly over each time. We heaved him up by his belt and under his arms. He stood for as long as he could each time. It was important to him. I hope it was his champagne.
On that afternoon I got him a new tank of oxygen. Wheeled him around the facility. Here’s the garden. Here’s your room. Here’s the other hallway. He fell asleep looking out a window in the main living space as I rubbed his shoulders and hummed Silent Night- just like I hummed to my children. The window was overlooking a large red oak tree. The tree was pretty but I picked that one because it also overlooked Dean Word Construction Company’s back property. You could see all sorts of loaders, and backhoes, and heavy equipment. I thought he’d like that.
I sat with him as he slept. And when my Aunt and Uncle got there I left for home. It was just hours later my brother called me to say he died in his sleep as my Dad and my aunt sang and played piano for him. He won his long fight.
Anyway. I don’t know what my point on this one was. I saw some correlations between that article and past experience and it’s opened the wound that is everyone’s mortality for me a bit. It’s… all okay though. Because it has to be- because it’s always been the truth here- the price we pay for being here is to eventually leave and I get that. And that’s okay too. Not easy in the slightest, I’ll sure as hell tack that on though.