It’s happening. She’s dying. Back in hospital again. In the space of a week she’s halved in size and is drained of any colour. Apparently she’s losing blood…but no-one knows where from. She smiled happily when I walked in to the ward. And I genuinely felt pleased and relieved to see her there alive. This was quickly followed by an overwhelming sadness at the inevitable fact that she is going to die. And I think quite soon.
She was slightly drugged up, eyes a bit glazed, slurring, but on the upside she was incredibly chilled. She acted as I imagined she would if she got stoned…sighing in a relaxed way about not really knowing what on earth is going on and laughing about not going out partying tonight. She still slipped in the occasional ‘when I get better’ but it felt so much like she was just on auto pilot, as though she’s so programmed to that way of being that she wasn’t even conscious of the words coming out of her mouth.
It’s the fighting not to be an ill person she seems to have let go of. She hasn’t given up on life. I’ve never seen anyone get so excited about a new chair as she did that afternoon. She asked if I’d popped round to her house to see it while she’d been in hospital, as though word had got out about this chair and everyone in the world would be rushing to see it. She said “I couldn’t believe it was for me when I saw it arriving, oh its so beautiful”. I was moved. Of course her joy for this is absolutely understandable. Her entire life is spent sitting in this chair. Every day she wakes up, barely gets dressed, lights her fire, puts her TV on and sits on her chair until it’s dark and time to go to bed. That’s it. That’s been her life since I’ve known her and it will be until she dies. So no wonder. And because of that I am quite seriously looking forward to seeing it.
One thought on “Slowly giving up”
I devoured this and have read all your postsnow . I am a Marie Curie Volunteer, doing pretty much the same befriending wok as you and also training to be a death doula /spiritual midwife. I loved reading this as so much of what you wrote resonated with my own experience with my own client, although my client is in her own home at the moment. I am 5 weeks into visiting my client, and despite the training i have done in my doula course, nothing really prepares you for the reality….so many of my asumptions have been knocked on the head with a mallet ! In particular the idea that some one is “ready” to die simply because they are old. I look forward to0 following your posts, and wish you and you client a peaceful journey.