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DEATH AND DYING pain of it all...

Don't know why this suddenly hit me. I just need to write it down.


   I remember working at Bill Miller Bar-B-Que in Corpus Christi down on Leopard street.  One day just before the lunch rush I received a phone call at work.  It was my mother-in-law. She never never called me, especially at work. I knew in the instant it was beyond important and scary.  The woman had three part time jobs that poorly added to one paycheck. She needed to go to the doctor.  On the phone I told her I would be there as soon as I could hang up the phone. My boss over hearing this told me that if I left considered myself terminated; I left anyway and as the events played out I still had a job later.

   Betty Scott had gone to the doctor's a month before and no problems noted. We had a great Christmas. They ran test. We were scared. Sigh. She had test Monday. Tuesday she had ovarian cancer.  Wednesday she had liver cancer. Thursday she had lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes throughout her body. Friday she turned to vomit, went down into her lungs - she aspirated and went into a coma.  Saturday found my mother-in-law being pumped with more than four times the dosage needed to keep her heart going as a breathing tube did the work for her and the monitors declared the futility of it all. Frightening and dismay fail to describe the emotions of her family.
  I remember scoring the bottom of her expose feet in the ICU. Tickling her toes gave no response. The middle two fingers of both of my mother-in-law's hand had been taped to the raised and locked in place bed rail. Tubes for breathing and urine drainage, wires and monitors of the sterile environment were new to me. My eyes never blinked as their view soaked everything into my very soul. Her chest mechanically rose and fell to the whirling pump's unnerving rhythm. I was numb. How could this decline happen so suddenly to change my view of everything?
   I stood beside her bed. She had taken me in like a son and loved me far more than my own mother or step mother and yet she lay dying before me. Why? How?

   Suddenly she raised up, arching her back from off the bed dragging her head. This gurgling gush of black oil belched from her mouth out on to the bed on my side. With huge unblinking eyes I took in the horror of my mother-in-law's passing. Just as she lay down again I knew the breathing machine was unless in that moment the blaring alarms rang out and all the monitors announced the end.
  I felt this blissful giddy rush of extacy come over me.  An unexplainable euphoria.  Yet in that same instance time itself blurred to a freeze frame moment. A loving huge black nurse whirled my crying frail white wife about and literally carried her away in a slow moment of sheer bewilderment and joy.
   Betty was "gone".  I knew "something" left. I "felt" it 'pass' through me but only saw the physical shell shrink with deflation even before the machine was turned off before me.  Numb, hollow and cold - I recall that instant now as clear as the moment it occurred.
  Death and dying.  There are answers somewhere in-between the two.  I suppose that's what Life is all about, finding the 'answers'.

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