09 April 2008


Puppy's aunt died. About a year ago, his mom died. We didn't make it on time to see her (his mom) one last time. Tuesday night of last week, Puppy called me to let me know that Dad called him to tell him that Aunt Florence was in the ICU with lung failure. Puppy wanted to come home and maybe discuss going to Chicago. I told him to book the tickets NOW. He did.

We arrived in Chicago last Wednesday night. Thursday morning, at 7:30 AM, we get the call that Aunt Florence was in critical condition. Puppy shook me out of a deep sleep. We went to the hospital. There was Aunt Florence, who was so energetic, that she helped me cook for the 50 people who came to my wedding (she was 80 at the time). She didn't give two shits about what job I assigned her. She just wanted to help. She then made damn sure that we knew that the entire (Roman Catholic) family backed us up.

There was Puppy's aunt--MY aunt, lying in the bed. She had a breathing tube shoved down her throat. She was in so much pain that they had to restrain her hands, because she kept trying to pull out the tubes. She had bruises all over.

Finally, at 9:30, her breathing got very laboured. Her blood pressure was dropping fast. Her kidneys failed. The fluid in her lungs built up to the point that she was writhing in pain. The nurse upped the dose of morphine.

At 10:00, the nurse asked us to leave the room, so that she could adjust Aunt Florence's body to alleviate pressure, and prevent bed sores.

Twenty minutes later, we came back into Aunt Flo's room.

Her face had lost all colour.

Her jaw hung open.

She no longer squeezed back when you held her hand.

Her muscles were so exhausted that she could barely lift her hand to try to remove the tubes again.

She finally stopped struggling. Her pulse slowed down to the point where there was none left.

The machine kept pumping air into her broken lungs.

Her entire body was limp. Her flesh hung off of the bones, like so many rags on a washing line.

We watched helplessly, as her last breath (that she drew herself) left her body. It was such a terrifying sight.

God bless you, Aunt Flo.