Nicely done

The week before Christmas, i went to have lunch with Edna again.  Her daughter-in-law took the opportunity to scoot out for some necessary shopping – and a caregiver break.  Hauling in some home made chicken noodle soup, zucchini bread* and oatmeal cookies, we had a chance to just sit and catch up a bit.

Most of the conversation was on the subject of Edna’s frustrations with the current situation.  She bemoaned her loss of independence, as well as the general annoyance of having people living with her – even if it was for her own care and safety.  Family drama was at the forefront as well, with holidays bringing conflicting familial obligations and logistics nightmares.

Complaining that her daughter-in-law wouldn’t let her do anything, she offered me a cup of coffee.  Getting the message loud and clear, i stood back and let her go fix me a cup.  Terminally ill, and rail thin, she managed it quite well.  Tasted pretty good, too, with some of those oatmeal cookies.

Once she’d vented, she moved on to the subject of death.  She said “I just want to be done with it”.  It was her plan to send her son and daughter-in-law back home after the holidays and let go.  She was ready. 

The home health care nurse, provided by Hospice, came by for a visit while i was there.  Edna weighed in at 59 pounds.  That’s about 35 pounds less than my dog weighs.  With the approval of the nurse, we planned a short visit with the people at work after the new year.  So long as Edna brought her walker, the nurse said it should be ok for a short outing.

Her plans for New Year’s Eve?  Stop taking her medications that morning and open a bottle of Zinfandel that night!  A gentle reminder from the nurse that given her weight, a drink or two would probably be plenty.  Edna suddenly seemed slightly hard of hearing…

i got the call early this morning that Edna died before dawn.  As she wanted it, she was home, she was asleep, and without pain.  She donated her body to the local medical school, and they were there to retrieve her body within a couple hours.  She requested no memorial service, no funeral, and no fuss. 

Though i’ll probably wait a week, i will check in with her daughter-in-law to see if she was able to open that bottle of wine…

Thank you, Miss Edna.  It has been my pleasure…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Another friend provided the soup and bread, as my cooking is often suspect.  When we were trying to put weight on Edna, i made her a strawberry banana smoothie, infused with protein powder.  This led to a rather serious bout of greased intestines, so Edna accused me of trying to kill her.  We all agreed that it would be best for me to stick to cookies in the future…

dignity. and the loss thereof…

A conversation from the past.  Almost a decade ago… Dad was well into chemo, fighting the losing battle against colon cancer.

Mom: We need to stop at the store.  Dad needs more diapers.

daisyfae: The are undergarments, Mom.  Please call them undergarments.

Mom: Well, he calls them his diapers… he doesn’t seem to mind.

daisyfae: i don’t care if he names them after jazz singers, or wants to write the days of the week on them with a marker.  They are undergarments.  We should refer to them as undergarments

A losing battle. She never really understood my point.  Perhaps not very important in the big picture.  But it is always worthwhile to fight for the dignity of those you love.

__________

A remarkable story from MdW this triggered another buried memory.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?