Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Linda headed to S.F.

The dying experience is, strangely, a living experience. It makes life very immediate. It makes family close. It makes emotion raw and real.

Linda's sister, Lois, has just died. She had a heart attack a few days ago, and it didn't seem all that serious at first. But she was having congestive heart failure, and she had told everyone -- Linda, her son Cordie, her brother David, her niece Norma, that she didn't want any life support.

They took her out of the ICU last night, and put her in the hospice.

Norma is in the air arriving in San Fransisco soon, Linda is headed out this evening, and Cordie is arriving tomorrow, brother Lee on Thursday.

Lois was a very put-together person. Even in her illness, she would get up and get dressed to the T's, put on her makeup, and have a neat and orderly home. It was a complete nightmare to her that she had 'homecare' people in her space.

Linda had found a temporary group home for her before she left S.F. last time, and Lois seemed content. The woman running the home had come by the hospital several times, and Lois had exclaimed to her, "Take me home!" It's comforting that she had been comfortable enough to feel like it was home.

We were going to bring Lois up to Aspen Ridge; close to us and brother Dave. She seemed to be looking forward to it.

Some of the relatives are a little upset that they didn't know more about what was happening, but Lois was extremely, extremely private. Indeed, we think she had probably been hiding her memory loss for some time, cutting short conversations, and refusing to see or talk to people.

She had asked Linda very poignant question: "When a person loses their mind, where does it go?

I think Lois was terrified of her memory loss, her lack of privacy and control. She'd lived a very orderly life by herself for many years. We had originally brought in the homecare people because we feared for her; she had proclaimed, rather loudly, that "I don't want to live like this!"

The heart attack was both a different and the same health problem, which was smoking cigarettes to the end.

There are all kinds of platitudes I could come up with at this time, but I'll refrain, and only try to give Linda my love and support.

1 comment:

blackdog said...

Sorry to hear about your sister-in-law's death, Duncan. Please give my condolences to your wife.

My wife lost her sister two years ago and hasn't completely gotten over it yet. It's tough. Somebody like me who has no siblings probably can never really appreciate how tough.