is that the way it was done?

Is that the way it was done before nursing homes and hospices, before miracle drugs and transplants, when old folks died slowly at home, their sons and daughters and grandchildren and cousins all taking turns taking care? The frail old ones, dying only from the final stresses of age and gravity, moved slowly and silently, sleeping through most of those last months, last weeks, last days. Relatives came and went, stayed and shared, while the old ones slept and dreamed and waited, and that was the way it was finally done.
But there are only two of us here to keep watch, to take care. Each day she is more tired, asks to sleep more and more often. Awake, she sits sad and silent, eating slowly in front of the television that she can barely hear anyway. I sometimes still hold her and dance with her late at night, when she’s afraid and won’t sleep. Sometimes I sleep with her to make her feel safe. Sometimes, no matter what we do, she’s up and down all night, wants to eat, wants to go home. “Please, please,” she mutters, unable to tell me what exactly would please her.
Someone cracked my rear passenger side bumper, and I have to go and get an estimate so that I can get it fixed. But then what. My brother would have to get my mother in his car and come with me to drop off (and then pick up) my car from the body shop. It is hard to believe that we know no one around here who can help with that chore so that we wouldn’t have to put my mother through that. I don’t even think that there are taxis in this little town. At least I’ve never seen any. I think I’d better start checking that out.
This is not the way it’s supposed to be done — without friends, without extended family, without a support system. But this is the way my brother insists, and I am too tired to argue any more.
I’d better check the phone book for taxi services.
And I’m still purging and packing and planning. While I cook, and feed, and clean, and sit, and hold, and hope.
Whaddya know. There IS a taxi service right in town! Family or friends would be better, but I’ll settle for a taxi when it comes to getting my car fixed.

3 thoughts on “is that the way it was done?

  1. Gina: I seem to live in the opposite direction from where the bus service is available in/from the town. At any rate, the place where I will have my bumper fixed also rents cars, and my insurance will cover most of the car rental. Besides, even if there were a way to have a bus pick me up on the opposite end of Rt 299 (and I don’t see that listed anywhere and have never seen buses go down that road), I have quite a hike to get to 299. But thanks for the info. You can never tell when I might need it.

  2. You have me thinking about the many people who are dying and have no one. We never hear their stories. Doesn’t make it easier for you, but I am wondering if they just fade away a little faster and lonlier, or experience it is getting home faster…

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