For the last nine days, I've been here in the Northwest with my family, the family of my beloved aunt who I go to quilt camp with. Her husband, my uncle, have been married for just under 51 years. He's ten years older than she.
He came home under hospice care on April 6th, the same day I made the long drive. His doctors said he likely would not survive a week. As we know, only God knows the exact day and time. It's a difficult thing to watch someone go through the dying process. It's hard to see them suffer, even when you know they're so drugged on morphine and other drugs they likely aren't feeling much. It's hard watching the closest of his family members as they begin to mourn, knowing that time is limited, knowing that no longer will they hear his voice, or see his smile except where videos or photos reflect them. They have memories, but they miss the one they love. It's a difficult thing.
We're facing the end. We hoped that timing elements might have been different. The passing will be close to his grandson's 13th birthday. The same day, his son is taking a very important work-related test that he can't postpone. The son, my cousin, has been here nearly the entire time, holding his father's hand, often with tears of loss in his eyes at the impending reality. He and his father have been best friends. They are very much alike.
A neighbor who was a hospice nurse many years ago, and who is one of those wonderful neighbors one dreams of having, is here, a calming influence, a knowledge resource, and a compassionate friend, holding his hand also. My aunt is on his other side holding onto him but assuring him it's okay to 'go on ahead'. Their two daughters are here working jigsaw puzzles, two granddaughters are busying themselves on their electronic devices, the son is sleeping knowing his father would want him to go ahead with the test when daylight arrives. And the big, overly-plump half-lab, half-retreiver is sacked out on the floor.
It's "11:55" p.m. he is gone.