Tuesday, September 10, 2013

thoughts on funerals and hospice and bedsides

My friend got her wish yesterday. Her son came to visit her in the morning and found that she was not at all well and could no longer be at home. He called hospice and transport to get her into the facility. She did not wish to die at home, and she did not wish for her boys to find her dead. She was found alive, she was wrapped up and cuddled, she was transported to hospice. Her son, the one who found her, is by her side and has been there since yesterday morning.

She is there now, and most likely will not last the night.

Several friends went there during the day, and a few reported back that she's truly on her way out. Her two sisters are there and are incredibly agitated with all the traffic. "Coffee hour is over, you had your time. Go away so we can say our goodbyes" is what they said, and according to a friend, they commenced to clearing the room of the last 3 visitors. They chastised their nephew for all his joking about and laughter. At one point my friend Debbie and the son were telling stories and laughing and Marie's heart rate and respiration rose. The sisters got very upset, that they were upsetting her and made them stop. Thing is, Debbie and the son (and I) think she was listening, she could hear, she's not dead yet... and this was making her laugh.

I did not go over this afternoon. It may be a good thing, since I don't want to be part of any family drama or anger, but it also may mean I missed her and saying goodbye to her.

See, I didn't say goodbye. I told her "see you next week..." and that's right now. And at some point during today I should have swung over.

In theory, I still can. I can pretend I do not know that the sisters have banned further visitors tonight. I know her son is staying the night, and maybe they are maybe they aren't. I can call the hospice maybe and see if he's by himself, or if they're there and I'll stay away.

A deep abiding part of me wants to go and be with him, since he told Debbie that right now he feels "utterly alone," even with his family members there. Because they're not doing the death thing the same way he's doing the death thing. They've already commenced to mourning; he hasn't.

We all do the end differently. By the bedstands of someone we deeply love and adore, we process our loss and grief in totally different ways. I think I'm a lot more like my friend's son, and the bedstand is the place to tell stories and laugh and sing and read favorite poetry. Not to put a black veil on and wait for the departure of the mortal soul.

Debbie and I talked a few minutes about what we want when we are in the hospice, if we should be in the hospice. What do we want to have happen around us.

Laughing, you better believe it. Music, tons of it. Perhaps friends with their guitars and some live performances. Inappropriate jokes... yes sirree! Oh yes. And I know funerals are for the living, not the dead person. And sometimes funerals happen that would make the dearly departed FREAK OUT if he or she knew what was going on. I remember when Clayton died, he wanted to be cremated and his ashes sprinkled out over a cliff on Martha's Vineyard. His mother said No Way. "It's my son, I want a place where I can go and visit him." She wanted a headstone and a funeral plot. And I don't know that she's ever come to visit. She certainly doesn't communicate that to us and ask if we'd like to have lunch or something.

His last wishes were not honored, because momma trumped them.

Debbie said she wants a New Orleans Jazz funeral, with trumpets and slide trombones and people marching down the street. No black clothing allowed -- all color, all floral prints, big huge floral print ties on the men. Flowers bring her incredible joy, so she wants all of us to be wearing them.

I told her that I'll hold her family to that and fight them in the octagon if necessary to make sure that her wishes are met.

I don't think I'm going to head over. I'm a little wary of the sisters. I don't want to start a bru-haha by accident. And I don't want her to die tomorrow on 9/11, I'm a little selfish on that because I don't what her associated with the historical events. So... maybe she'll go tonight... maybe not.


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