I don’t know what it is about life, it feels like everything tracks along so ho hum, so stable so normal then all of a sudden BAM!
I don’t think that I have posted about my Aunty Kylie here before. She was my favourite Aunt growing up. Mainly because when I was born she was all of 10 years old (my Mum was the oldest and she was the youngest), but also because she is pretty damned cool. My favourite early memory is her allowing me to play with her barbies who were all bald or who had crewcuts. She would get bored of them, get a new one and chop off their hair. I would have been all of 2 or 3 at that stage but I loved her dolls because because well Barbie of course! But also because they were hers! When we visited my grandparents while I was growing up I would sleep in her room every time. Which alternately made me feel really special AND really annoyed because I would wake up to my sisters in the next room laughing and carrying on so I would try to creep out of bed, as silently as possible, invariably I would get half way across the room and I would hear her grunt at me to get back in the bed! EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. At those times admittedly she wasn’t my favourite. When she was in her early 20’s she was a hippy chick which was the early 90’s so right on trend for the flower power revival. All tie dye and cheese cloth skirts and love and light. In fact to this day that is how she signs off her messages to everyone “love and light XX”. I remember her jail breaking me from Boarding school as a teenager which was awesome.
She was also an artist, she could sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and create beauty. It was a delight to watch her draw.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been roses and candy. There have been times when we are cross at each other and didn’t speak. But I knew that she loved me no matter what.
Well Aunty Kylie has been sick for a long time. She has a fairly rare set of diseases that have been killing her for over a decade. The worst part of it all is that in the beginning it should have been easily treatable but she is allergic to the medications that would treat it! So now here we are, she is dying.
It is horrifying that her life has been cut short the way that it has, she will never see her 50th birthday, she has been so restricted from so many things because of her illness that to me at least her life feels unfinished. I always thought when she was younger that she would make a beautiful bride, that we would have more cousins because surely she would have some, that she would get the confidence to sell her art and maybe make something. It is cruel that so much has been taken away from her so gradually that even for her family it has been unnoticeable in the day to day. I didn’t realise until she was in the hospital just how tight her skin had gotten and how much that restricted her mobility. I didn’t recognise the havoc that was being wrought on her insides until she went into hospital and I saw how sick she was.
The only thing to be grateful for in this situation was the Dying with Dignity laws that have just been introduced in our part of the world (Western Australia). I am not here for a debate on the laws. I have been supportive of them for years. But in this instance I am absolutely in favour of them. The truth of the situation is that Aunty Kylie is going to die, and she will die soon and there is not one person in our family who doesn’t want to keep her with us for a little longer. Just a few days or a few hours, we all want her to get better, we all want for her to have ONE more good day. We have now reached the stage where that just isn’t a possibility. At this stage a “good day” is a day that she can have a few bites of food and MAYBE keep it down. She is progressively being pumped full of more and more drugs just to keep her “comfortable”. This is no way to live. She is dying slowly and painfully and miserably. She is uncomfortable, overwhelmed and unable to advocate for herself. She had plans to utilise the law before she went to hospice, her chosen day falls next week. Unfortunately she isn’t going to make it that far, and if she is made to go any further the road just gets darker and harder from here. So my Aunt is going to die tomorrow or the next day. I don’t know exactly how they go about the dying, I know that they are going to have to wean her off of her current drug levels to get clear consent, and the fact that that is terrifying to ME let alone her is awful and a clear indication of how important this is. I know that they will use drugs in order to kill her and I know that she is looking forward to finally finding an end to the suffering.
I don’t even know why I have shared all of this. I am not sure why I have felt the need to share. I suppose so that I know that even if it is only here that a small part of my Aunty will be memorialised?