“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.” – Terry Pratchett
As I type this a woman named Elaine is laying in a hospital bed, unresponsive, her kidneys are failing and she is intubated. I suppose I should call this person my mother but the tiny frail body I put into care six weeks ago wasn’t my mother and what’s left laying in a hospital bed now is even less of her.
Elaine was never physically a big woman but had a presence that dominated every room she was in. She was one of the smartest women I have ever known. She was not perfect, she held grudges like no other and for a long time we didn’t like each other. We were obligated to love each other and as I have grown older I have a great deal of respect for the sacrifices she made to mould me into a semi-descent human being. I am grateful to her for my love of travel and reading, her attempts at improving my handwriting, my vocabulary, the way I drive and my skills as a scrabble player.
The thought running through my mind as I sit here pondering the nature of death. Is the person that is dying on a hospital bed, is that truly my mother? Or am I merely deluding myself and I try to prepare for the inevitable phone call.