Death becomes her
It's a strange thing, watching my sister die. Each day, a little more of her slips away. She's a little less aware, a little thinner, and laughing a little less.
Yesterday was a wretched, horrible day. She can no longer get out of bed because it's too painful. Her paralyzed side, with all it's intact and working nerve endings, tortures her with pain if we try to move her even half an inch. Her doctor, who makes house calls, said it's not worth it to move her and have her in so much pain. The morphine sublingual drops don't even help with that intense pain. She doesn't want to move and since the time is short, she remains in one position, on her back, where she is the most comfortable.
I spent several hours alone with her yesterday, as she sat in bed, staring out the picture window, looking at the river and the snow. I did everything I could to make her smile. She would only look at me with tears in her eyes. I kept asking her what was wrong, besides the fact she was dying, why was she so unhappy.
Once again, as she has several times in the past several days, she spelled "E.....L.....I!" I know what this means and it breaks my heart. I asked her, are you asking about Linda again? (heavy sigh on my part) A big nod yes from my sister. Linda, my sister's oldest daughter (49), who lives only ten miles down the road, has not come to see her mother since October 1.
There are a lot of things I could say about Linda, but I hesitate to say anything. I know she's mentally ill, but right now I can't excuse her behavior. Linda told me today that she can't bear to see her mother like this because it hurts her too much. A lot of responses went through my head, mostly that I wanted to tell her she's a spoiled, self-centered little bitch, but instead, I told her I understood and that it was okay.
After spending several hours with Linda today (she's finally talking to me again), she has agreed if we move my sister to a hospice for her last few days, she will visit her there. She just can't come to the house where she only had happy memories. It would ruin it for her.
Again, the thoughts in my head were quite different from what I said to her. I hate the idea of another ambulance ride for my sister. It will be her fourth in four weeks, but this one will be one-way to the hospice. I think dying at home would be better, but I also know my sister's dying wish is to see this daughter. We have almost everything lined up to move my sister tomorrow to the hospice.
My other niece (46) and her husband haven't left my sister's side. The sad part of this is that this niece, sweet, mild mannered and kind, suffers from severe depression. The kind of clinical depression that leads to suicide. There have been many attempts over the years, several were almost successful.
My sister was not only her mother, but her best friend, her support and her confidante. This is a very difficult time for this niece, and I'm not sure she's going to pull through what is undoubtedly the most catastrophic event of her life.
Funny thing about my sister. She's always been a great beauty, she had movie star good looks in the fifties. People would often comment on her beauty. Even though she's 73, she's still gorgeous. She never thought she was pretty. Each day, as she gets weaker and thinner, she becomes even more beautiful. Her wrinkles are disappearing. Her eyes are bluer than I've ever seen them. When she blesses me with a smile, my heart melts.
I already miss her.