As our family approached the seven month anniversary of Mazhas passing, we were hit with another emotional blow. Her sister, my “Auntie” Carol was admitted to the hospital because of issues with her heart, which due to complications, affected other organs.
Kensington and I had a prearranged flight to Texas, to remember Mazha on her birthday (tomorrow). But earlier last week Auntie Carol was moved from the hospital to hospice. The same facility Mazha was cared for in. I received the call at work from my Simone, my sister, who with emotion stuck in the hollows of her throat, told me that she was in hospice… and in room 103 - across from where Mazha passed.
I wrapped up things at work, changed my flight, and headed ‘home’ on this past Thursday. The past three trips home haven’t been pleasant… all arranged with an delicate mission to accomplish - a diseased to diagnose, a last Christmas to celebrate and a funeral to plan. This trip wasn’t going to be much different.
There are places I remember. All my life… though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better… Some have gone and some remain.
Initially, walking into hospice on Thursday I was fine, until we hit the Chapel. I tried to swallow and couldn’t. We got to the nurses station and were greeted with recognized smiles. We turned the corner and passed the kitchen - tears flowed uncontrollably. Moms room was just inches away. Billy Strait was occupying her former bed. (Unfortunately, the next day the bed was once again open).
All these places have their moments. With lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life I've loved them all.
With a quick smear of the tears with the back of my hand, we entered Auntie Carol’s room. That afternoon, she was somewhat lucid - knowing that we were in the room, shaking her head to let us know that she understood what we were saying, all while her eyes remained closed.
Friday, Kensington accompanied us. She knew the building like she was in it yesterday. “Phhhish” she called out as we approached the ‘quite room’ that houses the aquarium. The pitter-patter of her feet running down the hall to the playroom aroused the nurses to come and find her. They had been waiting for her arrival for days - recognizing the family from the moment Carol was admitted - and asking when “lil diva” would be arriving.
Saturday… Sunday… Monday… Tuesday - each day her responsiveness was getting slower until there was no more. On Monday we were told her vitals lead them to believe it would be anywhere between “ two hours to two days”. Today, seven months to the day that Mazha left us (just before 2pm), she passed away. Wrapped in love with her own version on Lois… she was comforted in her final days by “Flint”.
Though I know I'll never lose affection…for people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I love them all.