– Time for your memory patch, Pa.
– Nevermind the patch, I forgot you were here!
I was 16 the first time I sat near death. My Granny died at 89 years of age. The timing was unfortunate as Mum was on her way back from Europe, which meant that I was the only family member present in her final hours.
I was terrified the first time I walked into the nursing home and found her in a near-death state, so scared in fact that I ran to my best-friend Amber’s house and asked her to return with me.
Like going to parties where you don’t know anyone so your friend can make-out with a boy, teenage girls make devoted friends.
Fortunately, Amber has always had a natural faith in life and death. I’m not sure if it’s nature or nurture but she’s the believer. I’m the doubter.
My Granny died the most peaceful death that I’ve seen so far. I wasn’t there in the final moments but during the time I was, she was looking up above her and saying things like:
– There was never a love like ours.
And when she turned to look at me, she said.
– I know those eyes.
She thought I was Mum.
– I don’t like leaving home, someone might steal it from me.
Granny lived with us for as long as Mum could handle it. A single parent working full-time, it was too much. It’s true that I didn’t like rolling her into a window-less closet and putting a bib on her to feed her a cigarette but I’d like to think they took good care of her.
The truth is I don’t know how far down this road I will be able to care for my father. Dad says his brother was in diapers within 18 months of his memory starting to go.
I would like to believe that he will die in his home but we can only do what we can. Our surrender to life is practice for our surrender to death. Right?