They say “you die like you lived.” But the more I meet hospice workers and pay attention I’m learning it’s not true….
My auntie, the youngest of five and the first with a terminal diagnosis, “was a different person the minute she found out.”
Always gracious, always funny, she became fearful, ornery, and withdrawn. Most surprising, she refused to have visitors.. She fought to live and unlike the life she lived, she chose to go at it alone without the support of her extended family.
My dad, usually influenced by alcohol, was opinionated and bossy during the life that I knew him. He expected his word to be final and that we should all be subservient to him because “he was the man of the family.”
Now, as he lays dying, he’s friendly, jovial, content to listen, glad to have company…
So here we have two people who did not die as they lived…
Or do we?
As soon as I write these words I realize that being the heart of the family, my aunt realized that her death would signify the beginning of the “end” of the family…if she died, the rest would soon be separated too….
My dad, has only ever wanted to be waited on hand and foot and being his American Feminist daughter, I could not do that for him. I felt: …”If you want me to respect you, act respectfully. Stop drinking, treat Mom nice.”
Now, years later, he doesn’t drink, his wife takes care of him, she laughs gently at his jokes, and he gets what he wants…Pork buns? Sure! It’s easy to be respectful to him in this condition….he always wanted to be the king and now he is.
So, you tell me,
Die as you live?
always the one who fought to keep the party going and to keep the family together,