Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Last night, my sister passed away. Early yesterday during my visit to the nursing home, her hospice nurse, social worker, and I discussed her condition. Both long had been assigned to my sister and agreed she wasn’t close to passing. This was reassuring, but I know my sister and told them she’d finish in her own way. Which exactly, she did.
Yesterday, during the hours I sat with her, although seemingly asleep she knew I was there. She once managed to say, “Help me, Diana.” I asked if she wanted to be turned in bed and at her nod called for someone who knew how to do this. That person taught me how to keep my sister’s lips moistened and how to offer water through a straw, all of which my sister resisted. Later, as I was leaving the facility, a nurse said someone was on the way to turn her again.
Last night around midnight, after awakening and letting the dogs outside, I discovered that my phone had a voice message informing me of her death. On the advice of her hospice team, I had packed away some my own sense that passing was imminent, and now felt a shock of having left the nursing home too early. In those midnight hours, all I could learn was that already she had been moved to a designated funeral home. I will get in touch early hoping at least once again to visit her.
Five years ago, as I was preparing to bring my sister to Oregon, she explained her wishes to be cremated and then her ashes mixed with those of a beloved dog, whose ashes she had saved for years and which I have. I’ll do as she wanted. Something else she’d prefer would be those ashes spread in favorite surroundings, like the Nevada or Arizona desert, or near Little Rock, CA, where once she lived.
I am touched and encouraged by readers who care and have followed this ongoing, sporadic thread of my sister’s story. Later, I will write more, for Elaine was a unique and in many ways amazing individual.
Dear Friends: This is a rare moment, for I’ve run out of words. Diana