GOODNIGHT, AUNT GLORIA
I stayed the night. I sat up on a chair and held her hand the whole night. I think I may have fallen asleep for about five minutes. It was kind of nice being there. I've never stayed the night to see what goes on and I was happy to see that the staff was attentive - to everyone. It's a weird feeling being there at night and knowing everyone is all tucked in in their beds. When I used to work late nights I would be really aware of that and it kind of creeped me out.
I continued taking pictures of her room...
I kept looking around thinking about ways I should have decorated it… made it more home-like… kept up with the holiday decorations. She was fortunate to have a nice big private room. It was because she had "behaviors" and didn't get along with anyone. Still. It was nice. ;-) I always think about some of the ladies that share a room - sometimes not really liking who they are living with. What would it be like to spend your last days, months, years in 1/2 a room? All your possessions and treasures in 1/2 a room. That's so sad to me in a way. In a different way I feel like it's nice to be in a place like that - safe and cared for (hopefully) with a sense of security and community. I don't know. It's all too much.
Cindy was working today so she called me in the morning to see if I needed anything. She brought me a biscuit and coffee since I really haven't eaten in what seems like a week. Glo has been pretty much unresponsive. We washed her face and I took off that damn blue nail polish. I've been thinking - is she waiting for me to take that nail polish off so she can die?!
My boss and her husband and kids came in. They brought me a vegan cinnamon roll and her step-son said the sweetest prayer by Glo's bedside. The nurse has been coming in and giving her morphine… He told me to go home. I feel bad because it's Father's Day and I already didn't have The Dad's party and now, today, is a big old mess. I told the nurse I'm going to take my chances. I was going to go see my Dad for Father's Day and I'll be back… If something happens - it was meant to be. I was ok with that now.
So… I ordered enough food for a bout 15 people from Lucci's (his favorite restaurant) and somehow managed to get there. I think I may have slept the whole way. I'm not sure. I don't know how I made it back and forth on those windy roads. I've been up for 32 hours now. I went back to the house and we ate and I went back up to the nursing home.
Glo was now on oxygen and her breathing was getting worse. I felt like Tony by the bedside - checking for a pulse. I can still picture him shaking his head saying it's not time yet. I looked around and remembered all of us in that room when Mum died… all the kids and their spouses and my father-in-law… Deanna and Paula on the bed saying the Act of Contrition…. I held Glo's hand and put the rosary back in and said the Our Father and Hail Mary and laughed and said I couldn't remember anything else.. I swear she laughed but it was probably my imagination. It was a big difference from what - 17 of us surrounding Mum - to just me in the room - alone with Glo.
I told her it was ok to go… that everyone was ok here. I was ok and I would miss her. I told her it was Father's Day and I bet her Dad was waiting for her. When she threatened to kill herself (out of frustration and drama) as she often did, one of the aides had to stay with her for 24 hours because Resolve was called because she just so happened to say it when the State was there doing a survey! Brandy was always so good to her. I got a text from her that she was gone for the day but she told all the other aides that if Glo went tonight they had to come in the room and open the window because Glo always wanted to get the hell out of there and she didn't want her to have to wait! She told me that Glo would always tell her stories about her dad and what they would do and where he would take her. Then she would say, that little stinker came along, meaning my mother. I love that today is Father's Day.
I was there for a few more hours and her breathing got worse and I could smell death. She gasped a few times and opened her eyes and I watched them flutter from side to side. It was the weirdest thing. It wasn't up and down - it was side to side and I don't think I'll ever forget it. She was still holding my hand pretty tight and, without a sound, took her last breath and she was gone…
I gave her a kiss, said I love you and opened the window.