Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lucille Passed Away

Marjorie and Lucille’s health had worsened. First Marjorie had to go through a whole series of tests to find out what was causing her pain. She gradually couldn’t walk anymore. The doctor did not find anything and she was in the nursing home temporarily.
     This gave me a chance to see a nursing home for the first time when we went to visit. She had a roommate who lost her mind. From her words while she moaned and groaned, we knew that she had a son, but we never saw him come to visit. Every time we were there, I heard a man’s voice down the hall calling “help, help.” So desperate sounding, so helpless, it made me follow his voice one day. He sat on his chair with one of his hands supporting his head on the table. He was motionless; his lips were so dry and cracked. I was standing in front of him. He did not even acknowledge my presence. So, I bent down to get closer. I said, “can I help you?” He did not show any movement and seemed trapped in his own world still calling for help. Marjorie said he called for help all day and night and that she was so stressed by all those people. Very soon, she had to make a decision with her daughter, whether to stay in that place and give up all their belongings or go home with a helper. Finally, her daughter decided to take care of her at home.
     Lucille had been in and out of the hospital. I took Jonathan to see her every now and then. One day, I was in her room at home. We discussed our uncertain futures and where we were going to be in the future because of the job prospects. She was also concerned about herself. She never married and had no children. I told her that she could go with us if she wanted. I wouldn’t mind to have a “grandma” around. She said that it depended upon where we went because she needed to have a dialysis center nearby for her kidney needs. That was why she could not go back to her hometown in New Hampshire where most of her family lived. She said she would consider my offer. But not long after, she was in the hospital again and one day, Marjorie called me and asked me to go to the hospital right away and say goodbye to Lucille. Lucille was not going to be better and she had only a few days left.
     We rushed to the hospital. She saw us by the door and stopped us from bringing Jonathan in. She didn’t want Jonathan to see her. So, Anthony and I took turns to go in and see her. She had changed a lot. Her eyes were sunken and she looked very weak. She did have a clear mind. It was so hard for me to see her that way. I was trying to tell her that she was going to get better. She told me, “no, I’ve said goodbye to my brothers and most of my friends.” I told her that she would drive home again since I knew that she loved to drive. She said, “I already gave away my car to Rose.” She had a living will; she didn’t want the doctor to do any more.
     I felt desperate because I didn’t know what to say. But I couldn’t accept the fact that she had no hope and she was dying. I sat by her bedside. I took the record board by the foot of the bed. It clearly showed her blood pressure dropping day by day to dangerous levels. She had stopped dialysis and eating but her mind was so active. I just could not accept that she gave up the fight. Rose told me, “No, Ying, not this time, no, dear, she is not going to get better this time. We just hope and try to make her as comfortable as possible.” I knew Rose had been a doctor herself.
     We came back the next day and knew that Lucille was getting worse. She told me that she couldn’t breathe. Very soon, she started to call, “doctor, doctor, please help me, please, please...” I started to worry and went to look for the doctor. The nurse told me that her doctor was on the way but Rose told me that the chance that her doctor would come was small because he could not do any more. I went back and told Lucille that the doctor was on the way. She was going to be okay. She was going to be better.
     We left the hospital at 5:30 PM. After we got home, I felt very bad. I did not want to eat, so I went to bed and lied down there. Lucille’s face was in front of me. I saw her calling for the doctor. I felt so bad, helpless that I was she and I felt that I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t understand why none of the doctors or nurses came. They should have at least come to comfort her or do something because she needed help while dying. About 6:30 PM, Rose called Anthony and told him that Lucille had gone to heaven finally. Anthony tried to comfort me with the assurance that she was no longer suffering. She is with God. I just burst into tears crying. I cried and cried, reliving that I had lost my grandma again.
     A few days later, I dreamed about Lucille, she looked so young and full, not like how she looked when she was dying, thin, with sunken eyes. “Hi, Lucille, you look so good! See, I told you that you were going to be Okay and you are going to be better.” She smiled and said, “You are leaving the city!” “My offer still stands and you could still follow us,” I said. She should not feel much different because we got some of her spare furniture in her attic that her brother did not want to move back to NH. We left her bedroom untouched because Marjorie and her daughter Rachel wanted to rent her room out to students for extra income.
     Then I dreamed that I was in their house again. Lucille was healthy, walking from the kitchen to the dining room holding a small cake like she used to surprise me with for my birthday, only I was trying to guess whose birthday was. I then noticed there was only one candle on the cake. While she was walking towards us, she sang, “Happy birthday to me, Happy birthday to me!” On the other hand, Marjorie who was still alive, looked so pale and sick lying in bed. Marjorie lived a few more years after.