December 22, 2015

December 2000

Fifteen years ago, Pop died on the morning of the 22nd. So on this day every year I reflect on that day and wonder how I can put a few words together about the day and move past it.

So here it is.

We had a home death. It's like a home birth only there is a *lot* less information about death. In 2000 my mom didn't have a computer and what would have been out there to read up on would have been paltry. So that night it was me, Pop, middlesis and a pamphlet from Hospice.

I slept on the sofa. Sis slept on the floor next to Pop's hospital bed. His breathing was terrible. Occasionally we'd call some hospice hotline and ask what to do. They told us we'd know.

It was nerve-wracking, so as soon as there was a speck of light we turned the tv on to TCM and started watching Carmen Miranda in The Gang's All Here. I wish Pop had been conscious. He would have enjoyed it. Not long after, others in the house awoke and joined us. Someone made coffee. The credits for Hitchcock's Family Plot began to roll, and that's when he started to die. I held his hand and looked into his eyes, thinking that I'd never fully appreciated how beautiful they were, and then he ceased to be. That was kinda it. I remember saying "Can somebody mute? Pop's dying!" Of course I still regret that.

Someone went to get Mom out of the shower and she was wrapped in a towel when she saw him. She was relieved, I'm sure, since he'd been in poor health and battling with her for about a year. She chuckled wistfully about the "spite mustache" he'd grown in his final weeks. It was funny to see him in his bed, all tucked in cozy, dead, and with a mustache that comprised a completely new look. 

We left Mom with him for a while, and then each of us took turns being in the room  while others ate breakfast and got ready for the day. Eventually it was lunch time. We all made trays and joined Pop in the family room for a lunch of chili and cheezits and champagne. It seemed natural, and was quite jolly. Nobody really knew what to do next, so Mom gave us a hundred bucks and sent us off to Goodwill. Yes, we went shopping to take the edge off. Someone stayed with Pop.

Our bro finally arrived from his house far away and got to say his goodbyes. Then I went outside to tell the bees, which Pop had asked me to do.

On the 21st and 22nd every year I think of our sweet Pop. Sometimes I would lay down on the carpet in the exact spot where he died in order to think of him. The house is gone and I can't do that any longer, but I can probably find some Carmen Miranda today.

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