We’re still where we were.
My husband and I spent yesterday at the hospice, sometimes sitting with C., sometimes in the “relatives’ room” – which will soon have to be re-dedicated as the “Miles room” – with our niece, our other niece (F.), C’s third daughter (A.) whom I have not previously mentioned, and Little C.
We came home for late-afternoon insulin and carbohydrate, expecting at any moment the phone call which would summon us back. Our niece phoned at 8:30 to say, no change, and that the four of them were going home. I told her, feeling (a) very very tired and (b) guilty, not to phone in the night. I had had a bad night the one before, and would have lain awake listening to the phone not ringing. I discussed that decision at some length with my husband, who could have overruled me, and he agreed.
In the event, it was the right decision. The four women just named found, when it came to the event, that they couldn’t leave their mother/grandmother. Our niece remembered her mother saying, at a much earlier stage of illness, “I don’t need you right beside me, but I need to know you’re there.” So they went home and had half a glass of wine each, and went back and spent the night at the hospice. Our niece phoned here at 6:30 with this news, and we will join them as soon as we can. It won’t be instantly. My husband needs time in the morning.
What C. is going through is meaning 3 (now rare) of “agony” in the OED – “the throes or pangs of death”. It seems to be the essential meaning of “agonia” in Italian.
Thank you, more than I can say, for all your messages. But, Elizabeth, “beloved C.” won’t quite do – it is appropriate for the other players here in Act V, Scene V of her life, but not for me. I went galumphing in, nearly 53 years ago now, on the assumption that when you married someone you got to be a member of their family. C.’s reception of me was polite but cool, certainly not sisterly. It was a shock to me then. I understand a lot more now.
But so it has remained. She is by now, of course, part of the necessary furniture of my world. It won’t be worth my doing anything any more, without her to disapprove.
I have never held much with “love” as a word or as a feeling. All that matters is the doing.
As for knitting, the Mourning Shawl edging got a bit complicated as the day got more stressful. That’s what socks are for. The first of Joe’s 21st Birthday Socks has now left its dreaded 50 rounds of ribbing behind and is speeding on towards the heel. Today is likely to advance it further