It’s a very odd feeling, watching someone slip seamlessly from this world to the next. It’s a waiting game. A game you don’t want to play but can’t walk away from.
When my time comes, I hope death takes me like it took my Auntie Eva today. In my sleep, pain free and when I’m old enough for people to pass comment about my ‘good innings’.
Remembering Auntie Eva
As the end creeps nearer, we sit at her bedside and talk amongst ourselves about the good times. How Eva – affectionately nicknamed Nina to her family – would say the funniest things, completely unintentionally. She got her words mixed up and remembered things wrong, causing hilarity when she asked the young man in McDonald’s for a ‘Fantasy’ instead of a Fanta, and telling everyone she had a lovely time when we took her for a ride in a limousine, except she told people she’d been in a ‘lazoomer’.
Nina would always call us every name in the family before she got to the right one – even if you told her who you were, and she would cry if you gave her even the smallest gift. She had a huge heart of gold and would give you the clothes off her back if you needed them.
I’ve never known a person to have a penchant for biscuits and fizzy pop like Eva did; you knew when you asked her if she wanted anything from the shop you were going to be sent for a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock – and that she would let you keep the 20p or so change ‘for going’.
We are a fairly big family and each of us are very fortunate in that we have wonderful memories of growing up with Eva in our lives. My grandma’s sister, she was just like a second gran. Grandma and Eva lived next door to one another for over 50 years and you didn’t visit one without the other. As we had children of our own, they quickly learned that going to Auntie Eva’s house meant a biscuit or some sweets, regardless of how close it was to lunch time. She loved us all like her own grandchildren and great grandchildren and we loved her back equally.
I think that once you see someone disappearing in front of you, alive but without their spark, you begin to grieve for them before they actually die. ‘Our’ Nina started to fade some time ago. A fall at home resulting in a lengthy hospital stay and the onset of Lewy Body Dementia saw her move into a residential care home. From then on she deteriorated fairly quickly over 12 months. Over the last few weeks she has said such upsetting things, like ‘I wish God would just take me’ and ‘I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up’.
Well today she got her wish. She closed her eyes, and surrounded by love she went to sleep for the very last time.
It was incredibly sad and everyone shed a tear, but her time had arrived and she was ready for it.
Sleep tight Nina. We will have a glass of ‘fantasy’ for you tonight.