Auntie B died two weeks ago, the way she wanted. This maybe sounds a bit crazy, but she did. You see we had the ‘conversation’ a few weeks ago and discussed everything so I know she got her wish. And I got to keep my promise.
When she talked about her funeral to me we thought she would be around for a bit longer. We thought for example that she would be part of the angel child’s first Christmas. So we sat together one Thursday night and talked about everything. She didn’t want to die at home. ‘Upsets too many people’, she said. She remembered her sister’s deaths. One died at home aged 14. The other died in hospital aged 56. ‘So hospital it is,’ she said. ‘Do you want me to be there with you?’ She was afraid to answer me. ‘Ok’, I said, ‘we did all we did together, we might as well do that too.’
She wasn’t afraid she said. She didn’t want to leave us behind, all the people she loved. I told her the only difference in how we were talking then versus how we would talk after she died was that I wouldn’t be able to see her. I would feel her and sense her and hear her in my head but just not see her. She nodded.
She went downhill suddenly. She was holding court in the hospice smoking room on Sunday night. She had two pals, Robert and Gerry, and she was giving it loads. She was telling them how the angel child had sprinted down the corridor like Usain bolt and had high fived a nurse mid stride. We left her laughing.
Monday she was tired. She had new meds and was sleeping a lot. Tuesday the hospital phoned me to say she was very sleepy and not to get a fright when we saw her. She was very sleepy and I was unsure of what was happening. When you are close to someone, you know. Deep in your heart you can never lie to yourself, it’s just how much you are prepared to admit.
Wednesday we met her team. They said how it really was. They gave her days. They said there was no need to stay nights with her yet, nearer the weekend was time enough. We called the family. Then I sat with her.
Some of her friends decided to visit her. They thought it was better than waiting until she failed further. They too listen to the inner voice. After a break I went to see her and I found a cousin sitting with her who had decided to visit a day earlier than she planned. B smiled at her when she woke up. I was glad for both of them.
The angel child came in then. He wanted to kiss her and he sat on her bed and held her hand. I said he loves his Auntie B. She replied his Auntie B loves him. His dad asked where was his Auntie B? He pointed at her and she pointed back.
More family came and had time with her not realising what little time they all had left with her. Looking back it was just as well. At least they brought the energy of believing they would see her again. This made it easier for her even if she was drifting in and out of consciousness.
I felt uneasy about leaving her. The family reminded me how the nurses said there was no need yet. As I hung around wondering where I would find the way with this her nurse came up to me and said ‘oh you’re staying with her’. I said I wasn’t sure and she said ‘no do, keep her company in her new room.’ We both knew. Thank god for her.
I went home, got warm clothes and came back with dad. She was moved to her own room then and luckily a reclining chair that she had been using was moved with her. So I lined it up beside her and lay holding her hand. She woke up at around 4 a.m and I told her all was happy and peaceful and good. She said you make it all good. She never spoke to me again. She woke up and smiled a few times but never spoke.
Dad went off on his walkabout around 8a.m and met one of her pals. He wheeled him off the premises and to a local shop to buy sweets and cigarettes. They weren’t caught. Dad came into the room, she opened one eye and looked at him and said ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph.’ We laughed. Dad is a lifelong atheist!
9.15a.m and two nurses came in to wash her. They said she would be ready in a few minutes and the doctor would be along then to talk to us. I kissed her forehead and said won’t be long darling see you in a minute. By the time I turned and left the room and passed the chapel she had gone. The poor nurses got a drop.
I came in kissed her again and said goodbye darling. She got everything she wanted. We got her last night together; peaceful and happy. Then she went when she wanted, quickly and peacefully.
I miss her. I miss her calls every night. Her voice. Her laughter. Her eccentricities. Her chats. Winding her up. Swearing at me. Her friendship. Love. All that she was. B.
But I have a new guardian angel now. And guess what she is looking after me already. She isn’t gone. I just can’t see her. I can feel her, I can sense her and I hear her in my head. I just can’t see her.