Today when I visited, I sat by her bed again, quietly, with my hand resting lightly on her thigh, hoping she would awaken, but unwilling to wake her. She looked peaceful, almost secretly cheery. I looked around the snug, comfy bedroom for clues about her last week. Her glasses and a Snickers bar with a bite missing at the bedside table. On the wall was a page torn from a coloring book, a princess with tiara, colored flawlessly. Underneath, she had written, “I am so happy”. This was not there last week.
She was having trouble dying. The cancer that was torturing her body had left her swollen and lethargic. But then, she would have these incredible bursts of lucidity. Her blue eyes flashed and she told me about the sad, difficult times, and then–as if slaloming along the zigzag course of her life–about the happy times. Always she spoke of her son. Who hadn’t called.
She slept most of the time, she wasn’t eating, barely drinking, hardly peeing at all. Three weeks ago I wrote “actively dying” in my note, two weeks ago, “dying at her own pace” and last week, “seems to be having trouble dying.” She was staying with a friend, with hospice coming in to help care for her. She was comfortable physically, but there were times when in her sleep she called out for him. Sadly, she had no idea where he was, no clue, no contact information. He had stopped calling more than 5 years ago, right after college, when she was drinking heavily and he was tired of it all. He couldn’t possibly know that she was here with a friend, because she had moved from Kentucky only 6 months ago, when she already knew she was dying.
–So it was nothing short of a miracle that hospice had found him. That he had called over the weekend. That they had spoken of love and regret, of forgiveness and hope. Nothing short of a miracle. She can die happy now. She can die now.