Monday, February 17, 2014

Fade to Black

I got a lot done this morning, then I got the call. It was Sophia, Rita's nurse. The call ended with Sophia saying "She is dying. Rita is dying." And she wanted my permission not to hospitalize Rita—this, they asked of someone who cannot kill a dying fish, moves worms when digging and releases insects into the wild instead of killing them.

I couldn't say, "Okay." So I phoned Rita's daughter in Oklahoma and caught a cab over to Brock Fahrni, Rita's hospital. The Pastoral Care worker met me as did Sophia. Rita had, they said, refused hospitalization. And Michelle, the daughter, had authorized a shift to "Comfort Care."

Mel, the Pastoral Care worker, said that she had spoken to Rita this morning when she was stronger. Mel said when Rita roused, she said, "I love you all." What a way to go! Because of her release and Michelle's position, I signed the necessary papers and then I went to sit with Rita.

At one point, she opened her eyes and looked at me. I saw no sign of recognition in her eyes but a wee smile crossed her face and I felt blessed. Oh, how I will miss her.

And the day changed. The sunshine on my face felt like a balm; the birdsong sounded like a lament. Brock Fahrni, where she lives, is beside women'd hospital and as I was leaving a young couple were leaving with their newborn. Everything was so intense so I walked home looking down and not wanting eye contact with anyone.

One minute you are lonely and the next you can be deeply in love. One minute you can be so happy and the next, so sad. And Rita is a veteran; that makes her very special. I got her wartime record in England recognized here in Canada so that she could enjoy the full benefits of residence at Brock Fahrni, a residence specializing in care for veterans.

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