My neighbor is not long for this world now. When I went over to see her last Sunday and offered to take her out for a stroll in her wheelchair, she just wasn't up to it. I kept my visit short and took note of her spark not being quite as bright. For the most part, since she was diagnosed with terminal cancer it has seemed like she would live forever. That's how it is with terminal illness. It's hard to imagine that from one day to the next things can go downhill in a big hurry. I would ask her if she had any pain and she emphatically said no. She was bright and cheerful and always glad for my visit. I mostly just listened to her. I will treasure the talks we had these last two months.
Fast forward to day before yesterday. I dropped in with a dish of bread pudding I had made at her request. She was having difficulty breathing and told me that oxygen was being delivered that afternoon. She scarfed up a bowl of the pudding but her words were jumbled and I didn't have a good feeling about it. The rattle that comes when the lungs start filling up (called by some "the death rattle") was apparent and extremely painful to witness. I didn't stay long. When someone is struggling for air, the last thing they should be doing is trying to talk. She is a talker!
Saturday, when I came home from a morning run out to watch the balloons launch in Prosser, one of her visitors told me she wasn't doing well at all. I rushed over to see her just one more time but she was making no sense and the palliative medication they gave her that morning was working and she quickly fell into slumber. The only thing I could do was get out of the way. Her family was gathered at her place the entire day and into the night.
I think I've done all I can for now. It will never be enough but it will have to do.
I learned a lot from her and I will miss her. When we moved here, she was friendly to us and we had lots of conversations about flowers and herbs. She knew a lot about them. I have a lot of iris growing on my property and every spring she'd say she wanted to have some of the bulbs and, of course I told her to bring a shovel and have at them. She never quite got around to it. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at an iris and not think of her.
Which gets me around to my take away. It's a no-brainer really.
TAKE AWAY: Got something you want to do? What are you waiting for?