But it’s not how I imagined it!
How YOU imagined it? Well, poor you! YOU aren’t the one who is dying.
I can’t believe you won’t at least fight.
Fight what? Who? I’m 83 and can’t get out of this bed to do anything without an escort. That includes a lot of things other people shouldn’t be able to see me do. You can get up and go when you want.
But, giving up isn’t the answer.
It’s not your answer but there’s a difference between giving up and being alright with things, honey.
Yes, I am. Look at me! Is this the way you want to think of me? Tucked in this bed like a broken pocket watch? That’s not what I want. I miss being able to read to myself and seeing a different view than a parking lot. My body won’t move the way I want.
I’m losing you.
To death…but how is this a surprise? Did you forget I’m supposed to go before you? Stop this. Aren’t you the one who should be making me feel better? I’m the one with two months left on the clock.
You should try.
Let me tell you what, my healthy young child…
Oh, if my big toe could just be 19, I might change my mind! Honey! I’ve been where you are but you don’t know what its like to be me. Your bones and joints don’t argue and bite. Your heart can take whatever joys and sorrows are around the corner and your mind, your mind has so much more room in it than mine. You have your own teeth!
You want to die because of dentures? You’re not that old!
Compared to what? How old should I be? Did you have something in mind? If I promise to make it to 92 like Mrs. Petrofsky down the hall? Bed pans and dementia and she thinks she’s still teaching third grade. All she can say is multiplication tables! Would that be enough? Yes, I absolutely want you to be able to tell someone I fought till the end! The hell with that. I refuse to be neat and tidy about it. I’m tired.
So…rest until you feel better. You’re having a bad day.
A good day was before they put me here. I’ve been resting two years in this place and there is no “better.” When the nurses talk about “better” they’re comparing yesterday’s poop to today’s poop. This is only about surviving long enough so my relatives don’t feel guilty.
If you would just….
Hang on? Please tell me the what and the why of that! Little one, I had a good life. I did mostly as I pleased, had some wonderful friends, one alright husband and one that was a bastard. Outlived them both, too. I traveled and read and laughed. I danced them down at the Legion on
Locust Lane. There isn’t any mountain I would climb now even if I had the ability.
Nobody wants you to climb a mountain. They just want you to live.
For them…they want me to live for them. This is not living, not my version. If you don’t believe me, please trade places with me for just one day. I’m sure Nurse Ratchet out there will be happy to introduce you to the enema bag.
You must be feeling better. You’re making jokes.
Honey! Look at me. I’m done with this and I want to be done with this.
Don’t say that!
Why not? I’m fine with death. It’s everybody else who wants me to avoid it.
Have I ever told you how to live, Sweetheart?
I mean besides trying to teach you some things. Have I?
Then please do me the favor of NOT telling me how to die. Death doesn’t scare me. Dying…that might hurt, being on the way out but, once I get there, I don’t think it will be that bad.
I can’t hear this!
You better hear it because it’s what I want and how I feel. If it disappoints you I’m sorry. I don’t want you to feel sad.
Thinking about death makes me sad.
Really? I guess I remember feeling that once, but now I think death could be a relief. All this talking and breathing and trying—that old skin smell. Ahhhhckkk, enough!
…fine, honey. I’m not going out in a big way or anything. I’m just going to put my mind to it. It’s worked for everything else I ever wanted to do. Hopefully, if I’m good at this, I can drop off in my sleep.
Don’t talk like that!
Why? Isn’t that how everybody else in the world really wants to die? Who cares about all the particulars? Life and death are not like in the movies—deep last words to remember me by and nice hair. It’s nothing like that.
But I love you, Mammy.
Me, too Honey…I love you very much and all of this, all this is the way it’s supposed to go. You didn’t think I’d be around forever, did you?
Yes….well, a lot longer than this.
Please don’t make me stay. I’m due a good nap, one that isn’t interrupted every four hours by pain and pills for the pain. I need the peace. Do you remember what I used to make you for breakfast before your mother got up?
Tea and toast.
Yep…I can’t have either one of those any more, thanks to the damn doctor.
Want me to get you some?
Only if it’s got a lot of milk and we can dunk the toast in the tea.
It sounds delicious.
The doctor won’t like it.