Thursday, October 15, 2009

Passing Over to the Perfect Life

Well. Auntie Jo passed on my birthday.
People keep apologizing that I had such a bad day.
Not so. Let me tell you, it was beautiful!
Hospice came early the day before and put in a catheter, upped her medication and told me it would be two days or less. Obviously, it was less.
Before hospice left, Bishop Curlin showed up to give her communion. She was asleep because of the meds the hospice nurse gave and didn't wake up for him...although the sweet father waited nearly two hours. He blessed her and told us to call him if anything happened, any hour.
Then, we had a strange evening.
Alan had left the checkbook at home the day before when we rushed from the pottery show to Charlotte. He brought his bills, but couldn't pay them...and needed to go home. We had been up all night the night before getting what turned out to be last minute instructions from the boss as she kept sitting up to tell us things she considered dire. He said that he needed to make a quick trip home while she was sleeping and whispered to her not to move until he was back in the house.
She is always the boss, she laughs - or twinkles, but never listens.
So, twenty minutes later she wakes and starts giving me a hard time.
Swinging her legs like she's getting out of bed. And, for the first time in my life, getting angry with me...because I block her. I try to soothe her and tell her it's because Alan said not to move (getting back at Adam for blaming everything on know). It doesn't work well.
The fourth time she succeeds and her legs go too far to stop them.
I grab her from the front, under both arms, and try to lift her. But, the lymphodema is so bad that she is very bottom heavy (and just days before I could handle their weight). It doesn't work.
She had been complaining that she needed to be in a different position. So, I tell her sitting on the floor is just a new position and I gently lower her, joke about smores around the campfire and call Alan. She tells me "Robin, don't you panic". And, I joke again and never panic. Why waste the time. I tell her I feel jipped out of those smores, and I know she's been jipped out of so much more.
Alan rushes back (cutting a drive that is normally 1 hour and 15 minutes to just 41 can't get a ticket retroactively can you?). Anyway, the two of us can't lift her.
I call 911.
Okay...this sounds like the end, right? But, no, not for Jo! It takes five men and a special tarp to get her back in bed. Five young, strong, nice looking men, with two more standing in the doorway...and you think she's leaving NOW???
My Alan gets his back up...this is his Auntie Jo. And, man that he is, he has to protect his territory.
So, he tells her he has to stand between them so she can't see these guys are younger and look better than him...and she laughs. We all joke about the responders the whole time they are there. And they leave well after 9pm.
She talks for a while and continues to ask just how many young men came to see her. Hmmmmm, she says, with a very big twinkle! Ugh!
It's midnight when things settle down enough that I go to bed and Alan sits first watch, pressed up against her bed so her legs stay where they belong. (He doesn't want competition again in this house!)
We never made it to second shift.
He called me just a little over an hour later.
We sat with her for a while. Me rubbing her hand, and Alan stroking her head and my back.
She was more peaceful from eleven til heaven than I had seen her in a while. Not worried about things left undone, or love left unexpressed. Just peace.
She never needed her pain medication or her panic medication.
There was no panic, and no obvious pain...just peace, and the slowing breath of life.
She asked me many times over the last two days how long I thought it would take to die.
I didn't know the answer until she was gone, too long for her-not long enough for me.
But, now, there is only the peace. No cancer, no pain, just sweet peace.
The bishop came again. He blessed and prayed over her. Was that to give peace to a soul already enveloped in it, or those of us standing with him?
(You know she just winked when I asked that, don't you?)

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