Thursday, April 25, 2013

Backbone and Mirth

My best friends mom, N,  was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease several years ago.  She fought with meds, determination, and a profoundly defiant personality.  She had been a charge nurse for ages and she knew what she was up against.  Refusing dialysis when her kidneys began to shut down she knew would be a painful choice, but it would end her suffering more quickly and in a natural way.

During the last week, despite 2 seizures, she drifted in and out of consciousness- but would smile when you held her hand and spoke to her.  She had been an active member of her church, was in the choir for many years, and had been married to my best friend's dad for 38 years.   She was well loved, respected, a fabulous cook, took charge of anything entrusted to her, and was not a woman to be trifled with.   She was full of 2 things, backbone, and mirth.

Yesterday, barely awake, her husband held her hand and asked her how she was.  Her reply was, "I don't like it, but it's ok."   A little later he told her he was going to sit by the bed and read the newspaper, and her last words were, "If you are going to read the paper, then I am going to sing."
And sure enough, for about 10 seconds she sang as best she could, an indecipherable song she had hidden in her heart.
We lost her this morning.

When her husband told me this story I was at a loss for words.  Utterly and woefully trapped in a body which was actively dying, in tremendous pain from the toxins building up in her system, unable to move, feed herself, or take care of her own basic needs...and yet there was ONE thing she could do.
She could sing.

She didn't complain.  She didn't weep- even with the understanding her moments were numbered.  She didn't yell, or fuss, or cry for more time.  She sang.  She faced her last hours with a song in her heart, and a tune on her lips- inspite of the disease which had ravaged her body and taken her years too soon.
She sang.

It occurs to me, as I struggle with my own mom and her illnesses, kids in college, and moments of pain, heartache, and well as the beautiful fact that I am well, can run 3 miles, have never been in better shape, can cook, clean, go to the beach, sit in the sun, and love with abandon...
I do not sing enough.


Roxanne Galpin said...

Hugs to you, my friend.

NYD said...

Yes! Absolutely!! Take a moment to let the sunshine warm your face and sing. Sing until the whole world disappears and there are no more troubles in your heart or circling your mind.

Skunkfeathers said...

Tell you what...your smile sings to all of us.