Friday, October 20, 2017

last words (with berries)

 These days I often think about dying, and death. Which also makes me think about life, and living. I've been close to what feels like a lot of dying people, people I loved. My father, my mother, my dearest friend, my stepmother, my brother.

I was with my father exactly when life left him. My stepmother was out, buying him a Jamba Juice, the only thing he would eat those final days. Boysenberry. I held his hand, he held my hand, and his last words were, "Stay." Pause. "Stay." I did.

I wasn't with my mother at her moment of death, but when I left the hospice for the final time, her last words to me were, "Give us a hug." The hospice people were lovely. They brushed her hair and remarked how pretty she was.

The last day I saw my brother, in the hospital he never left, a week before he died, he wanted Trader Joe's Kombucha and frozen strawberries. The only other thing he wanted was his old radio, so he could listen to baseball games. His last words to me were close to my mother's. "Give me a hug."

Dying is profound. The most important thing I've learned in that realm is you never want to let someone die alone. They want to be touched, held, remembered, loved. They might want berries too. Isn't that what we all want? To be touched, held, remembered, loved. (And eat berries.)

So, the part about dying making me think about living. After the first few deaths I had that, "seize the day" urge, and did the crazy thing of opening an antique store four hours from home, because I thought it would be fun. (It was and it wasn't. It's how this blog got started.)

With my brother's recent death, I've found a different tone. It has to do with love, and being present.

To be continued. Maybe.
Photos taken at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.