Monday, August 30, 2010


By the time I was back in the city, S had been transferred out of Emergency. A small group of family and friends now held vigil in her room. She had not yet, through waning consciousness, expressed anything but the will to hang on. Medical staff still talked about obscure infective processes, and needles still sucked more blood for more tests. They only needed to look at her. The family asked me about the Hospice, a destination I had flagged on that Sunday when she was rushed in, and what could I say, except that she was still in control of her decisions. Very early on Friday morning, the sun just risen, the night special still there, I called in on the way to work. "Ring the family darling' she said clearly and certainly. "I want to die, and I want the family with me when I do."

I am back in the country, waiting. It was expected yesterday, the phone call. Those with her are the ones she wants and needs. Little B is here. He was curled into the fold of my knees as I read into the early hours of Saturday, Iris Murdoch's 'The Sea The Sea', and this sentence was the one which closed the night: "How does a child perceive such things, or rather how is it that they are so perceptible, so obvious, to a child, who perhaps, like a dog, reads signs which have become invisible amid the conventions of the grown-up world, and are thus overlooked in the adult campaign of deceipt?"

(click to enlarge)

1 comment:

Smorg said...

There was a black cat at a nursing home I worked at in 1999. He roamed the place day and night but whenever he parked himself with a patient and refused to leave, we pretty much knew the poor soul was about to pass away. Some of the staff thought the cat something of a bad omen. I think he, like B, could just sense when someone's spirit is ready for the final passage and decided he wanted to see them off. I guess he and B make better companions during times like that than many humans would, you know... They are just quietly there for you.