The End of a Wonderful Life
Journal entry by Dale Edmondson — 6 hours ago
Alice died last night, Friday, June 8, at 10:51.
It had been a good and memorable day. Infusions of hydration and potassium two days before had “restored” her to her vital self—at least to hints of it. Daughter Karen and Grandson Liam arrived early on a flight from Albuquerque. (Son Eric was in Washington D.C. and scheduled to return to the Bay Area this morning.) At a pancake breakfast,“taste” seemed to have returned. Three dear friends with whom Alice formerly taught (and with whom she had lunch together monthly for several decades) came to visit, reviewing stories and memories. We knew this period was a reprieve before returning to chemotherapy. The day previous had also been good. It included two walks together, reminiscent of our daily walks along the Bay, but these inside our complex and with a more cautious gait.
But yesterday afternoon, about 5:30, after another restorative infusion of several hours, and preparing to return home, she was struck with a violent pain in the abdomen. Taken immediately from the clinic to the ER, she was given pain medication, while numerous medical people worked to aid her. Only after hours did the pain begin to lessen–enough so that she could inquire about the Golden State Warriors score and speak of my doing her laundry. The prospect of surgery was forbiddenly ominous. A calm, pain-free face, with diminishing breath proved the most caring action. Words of love were shared, knowing that hearing is said to be the last sense to cease. A calm, pain-free face.
With Karen with me in the room, I prayed: “Thank you God for giving me Alice to have and to hold. She made my life different that it could ever have been without her. She gave the world our son and daughter and gave many people the gift of hospitality. With me, she sought sincerely to serve you by serving others. Together we discovered that love, above all things, has the greatest value—and that, in some way, it is itself a gift from you. We rest our lives on this and on the knowledge that nothing, not even death, can separate us from your love. I entrust Alice to you, aware there is mystery in what lies beyond, but believing that just as we walk in life by faith, so do we in death.”