Thoughts about eventually
“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’ Janis Joplin
Today is the first anniversary of my Aunts death.
Long story short: Mid June 2014 She moved to Costa Rica to work. For the 5 months she was there she suddenly couldn’t breathe. The doctor said she had COPD and that she needed to carry a portable oxygen machine with her at all times.
She came back to the U.K. and was admitted into the hospital. She was in the hospital for nearly 2 months being poked and prodded. The doctors didn’t think it was COPD. It transpired that she had fluid in her lungs.
I don’t know if you know the procedure for draining the fluid but I want to tell you so you can understand how brave my Aunt was.
They cut open a hole on of the side her body -fed a tube through the lung to drain the liquid. Yes, she was on morphine but she still screamed out in pain. Then once the fluid is drained they need to dry out the lung. They cut another hole on the other side of her body and blasted talcum powder into her lungs. Yes, she was awake for all this.
We all knew what she had. Two months later, she was told she had cancer and there was no more they could do. She went to stay with my Ma. I went to visit her the night she got back home.
I couldn’t stay long, I said.
I have so many things I need to do,I said.
We must have a movie night, kissed her on the cheek.
Then went on my way attending to my busy important life.
7 a.m. 22/02/2015
“Daisy! Something is wrong with Babs she is not moving, I don’t know she won’t answer me –BABS! BABS! – I’m calling an ambulance.”
“Ma … Ma?” No answer. I sat up in bed and did not react and then I thought – fuck this is not good.
One call and a taxi ride later,
I get out of the taxi as the paramedics are carrying my Aunt down the stairs in a wheelchair and into the ambulance. Pulse monitor flashing 16.
We were allowed to ride with her. Get to the hospital. She is rushed in for emergency care. The doors slam in our face. A doctor comes out and leads us to a quiet room to wait. We wait.
A doctor comes back in. My aunt is stabilised but she will be on machine support for the remainder of her days. What do we want to do? Ma and I look at one another. Ma’s face crumbles.
“No, we let her go! she has to go no more pain” I speak up. Mom is nodding. The decision is made. No time to call other family members. We are allowed to enter the room. We pull up two chairs and watch as she dies in front of us, snowed under morphine. It takes seemingly forever for her to go.
We sing Janis Joplin’s ‘Merecedes Benz’ .
The death rattle finally comes and it takes forever for her to drown in her own spit.
“MOMMY” my cousin rushes into the room. We all turn back to my Aunt. She has gone. It is all over.
60 years of knowing her alive and 20 minutes knowing her on her way to death.
She didn’t want to be chained to an invisible leash- an oxygen machine.
My aunt was awesome, everyone got on with her, we were great friends -always giggling, she didn’t take shit from me. She was a true hippy and a traveller. She could read palms. She fought a good fight. Life was hers -she owned her life. Life did not own her until the end. We used to joke that I became a drug addict because she used to sing me ‘Puff the magic dragon’ without knowing what the other meaning of the song is.
One last song
FUCK TATI I MISS YOU. I LOVE YOU. Wish I could hear you laugh again.