Today was D Day. Literally for my Aunty Kylie. As I said in my previous post she chose assisted dying so we knew the date. She was enthusiastically ready for it to come, she welcomed death with open arms. She was radiant as my Nanna said and it is true, she was. It was actually a privilege that I got to be a part of that experience. I was lucky that I got to be there and that I got to see her so surrounded by love.
I stayed later than allot of other people. Allot of the family fled the scene almost straight away. But I wanted to comfort my Nanna, as always her sisters (my Great Aunts) were there, but one couldn’t face the day, and it felt wrong that there were only 3 of the sisters there, so I stood in as the fourth.
But my Great Aunt said something as I was walking out with her and we stood at the front of the hospital that triggered me. “She had every opportunity in life ripped away from her” and it is painfully true. My Aunt was 10 years older than me. I am 39. She will never see her 50th birthday, she never got the opportunity to build a career that she loved, she never got the chance to travel widely or to buy her own home. She lived away from home for a while but moved back when my Nanna got divorced and never left because just as Nanna was re-finding her feet she got sick. Her body failed her. Her life feels so unfinished, so unfulfilled.
My Aunt told me that when she goes she is going to have a bone to pick with God. That she heard once a story/parable about god weaves a tapestry with each of our lives, some bright threads, some dark and the shuttle weaves it’s way back and forth and creates the pattern and story of our lives and from where we sit underneath we can’t see the pattern, we can’t see the reason behind the dark threads and the pain. But once we meet our God that he will reveal his masterpiece. I know that her faith brings her comfort, especially given that her husband is quite a bit older than she is and she fears losing him in the next few years.
But for me I can’t help but wonder what sort of God would do this? What sort of God would strip a person of every opportunity, every mile stone? What sort of God would leave someone who loved him so much, and Aunty Kylie really did love her God, so bereft. Please do not misunderstand she was surrounded by love. Nanna spoke after she passed about how she was recognised around their little area as the happy lady, she was known for greeting everyone she met with “hello sunshine!” Which is also how she greeted us when we visited or called. She deserved more. She deserved to have the opportunity to use her hands to make her art, she deserved to have a happy relationship with someone who loves and values her. She deserved to have friends who actually stayed in touch rather than just visiting AFTER shit got so bad.
Selfishly it has also prompted me to really consider as death often does my own life, wants, needs, failings and successes. I want to honour my Aunt and carry her forward with me rather than leaving her behind. One of the things that I so greatly admired about Aunty Kylie is that she never ever seemed to ask “why me?”. I’m sure that in the quiet of the night she probably did, hell I am sure that with those that she felt really comfortable she probably did, but not around the rest of us and it’s also not how she lived her life. She drained every drop of joy from her life, she found the joy in all of the things that she could. Be it a Disney movie (she had just about the entire back catalogue) to her love of fan fiction. Despite being limited in what she could do she still found joy in the things that she was able to do.
Right up until the VERY END she was determined to do everything she still COULD do for herself by herself. She controlled every little thing that she possibly could even if that thing was “only” mixing her own drinks and ice-chips. She was an active participant in her own treatment and she commanded the respect of the staff and the people around her.
She was so brave, or at least it seemed that way. She dived into death. She was so ready. There was not a second of hesitancy and I can’t help but admire that. And to be honest I have no idea if she was running away from the pain and the limitations of her body or if she was running to the freedom of what lies beyond the veil, but the bravery is what gets me. She had not one second of hesitation. I know that I would have hesitated.
I already miss my Aunty. I already know that she is a loss to us, and I really believe to the world or at least to her little part of it.