Yesterday as I worried about my daughter Ellen, laid up in a hospital for a brain bleed and UTI, I paid a visit to a woman who was Ellen’s housemate. She, like Ellen, couldn’t speak or walk while sitting in a wheelchair but with her twisted body so distorted that her organs were displaced which made it difficult for doctors to ever help her.
She was in the ICU and while we were waiting around to took some time to visit her while my wife stayed with Ellen. I found her in the end room of the long hallway in the ICU and she was hooked up to a c-pap machine to help her stay alive, keeping her oxygen level as high as possible in her blood which was turning out to be a losing cause. I am considered a parent of this woman since I chair the Guardianship Committee at the agency. I met with people concerning her and asked questions, got answers and then left for my daughter.
That afternoon, when Ellen was done with her test they put her into the ICU, right next door to the woman I spoke about above. As we moved Ellen into her room, I decided I would visit with this woman and give her some kind of human contact. A woman of 74 years of age, she had no family other than her housemates so she lay in her deathbed alone and suffering, alone and suffering.
I bent over and help her hand, stroking her arm and talking gently to her.
Recalling all these years that I visited my daughter’s house, The woman would greet me with her grunts and groans and as we engaged, she would grab my arm and hold onto to me, smiling and refusing to let go. I truly felt honored that she would do that. But I learned long ago that if you engaged you to get engaged and with that can come love.
Leaning over her in her deathbed, I was wishing that she would pass at that moment so that she would have someone with her as she let go and ventured into the unknown. No one should die alone.
This morning, right before I wrote this I received a short email from the agency that she had passed in the night, alone and quietly as I suspected she would. I feel I at least left her with some kind of human contact in her last day on Earth. I know that those that serviced her needs love her, but unfortunately could not possibly be there at those final moments.
So my biggest fear is that those of us less fortunate will indeed die alone, without anyone to hold our hand, to talk reassuringly to us as we pass into the unknown.