My phone rang Tuesday morning and I heard my Mom say “She’s a lot worse and I think you should come on.” My mind switches to a sudden plan B. Grabbing things I’ll need for a stay of unknown duration, making arrangements for work, animals, payroll and the daily real world shuts OFF. I’m on the road in record time.
My Dear Aunt is one of my best friends. I was born on her birthday & we’ve shared a special
kinship all of my life. She had been sick for several years and finally, with Hospice, she was home to spend her last days. We knew her time was short but she took a sudden turn & it was time for all of us to come together once more.
When I arrived she was barely responsive. She did find the strength to tell us she loved us and she wanted to go home, but she soon slipped behind a thickening veil of clouds. I quickly slid into my care-taking, instruction-giving nursely role and helped my family keep her comfortable. Checking, talking, turning, medicating, praying, I was thankful to have things to do which allowed me to detach and simply be with the process. I sat with her during the night, saying very little–taking solace in having time alone with her before she passed beyond my grasp.
Morning came; she was still clinging tenuously as family & friends came and went. We talked, told stories…. We remembered. Everyone called her Granny, including my kids. My mom was Mamaw & she was Granny to them. As a child, teen and young woman I spent a big chunk of my life in her home, milling among my cousins & loving the chaos. It was so different from my life as an only child.
Dates, life lessons, family tragedies–we shared them all. She and I would have ‘beauty nights’ when we sat at the kitchen table with goop on our faces or polishing our nails. She & my Mom had similar nights with my daughter as well. We laughed hysterically, remembering my preteen daughter working and working to remove a dried facial mask saying “Granny, it’s hard to get it out of the cracks and crevices”. That’s when my daughter learned about wrinkles! Hilarious, candid life played out for all of us…. We remembered years & years of home cooked food, washed dishes and stray animals. Such a menagerie–dogs, cats, snakes, squirrels, rabbits, birds, ferrets, fish, hamsters, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs….. Everything landed on her corner for a while…
She passed on Wednesday evening-quietly, peacefully and surrounded by love.