Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Life and Death, Part II

I felt strangely grounded. Too much, I have done this, these vigils by hospital beds. In the end, it's all only memories. Didn't they have a line like that in Blade Runner, when Roy was dying? When the rest of the folks showed up, in various shifts, we would talk about the good times. If Lia was somehow managing to hear us, through the coma and labored breathing, it was maybe a little like being able to be at your own wake. I like that idea. We talked about the silly things we'd done with her, the sense of humor, the pranks, the outlook she always had of seizing life in both hands, the way she was utterly fearless. That last gave me pause for thought, because I suddenly realized that was why we had gotten along so well. We both were willing to go anywhere and do anything, trusting in both a merciful universe and our own abilities and never being afraid. We once walked miles through a very bad part of Sacramento, after my car had broken down, and discouraged a gang who was following us by getting fighting ready and talking about what a couple women were really capable of doing, if we felt like it. We talked about her passion for crafts, all the things she had started us onto, like her teaching me to spin, or Dori to knit socks
I held her hand a lot, stroked her head, just touched. I know the body responds to these things. We watched her sinking before our eyes. Several times, she stopped breathing, but it was faking us out, drawing another shuddering breath just as we were going to check vital signs. But she still held on. We began to joke she was smirking in there somewhere, going "Ha, ha, faked you out!" It was like her.

Everyone, including her husband, made a final decision. We think she will pass in the middle of the night. We went home, as the hospital began to close up shop. Her breathing had slowed to a few labored breaths with long pauses. I wanted to stay to the last, but I had no idea of when the last would be, and my practical side realized I and my life must go on, too. Sigh, I'm getting old, and know my limits, much as I may not like them. And yet, being the practical soul she always was, I think she would have scolded us from the beyond, for being sentimental ninnies, if we had done otherwise.

Thus passes a great lady, and a great friend. The world is a little smaller

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