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Sunday, May 16, 2010

A time to mourn.

My aunt Sharon, my mother's sister, passed away today. She was 62 years old.

She had been in the intensive care unit at Baylor since Friday. She had had myriad health problems over the years: Hodgkin lymphoma, two bouts of breast cancer, osteoporosis...I suppose all of these years of heavy medication and being semi-bedridden finally got the best of her. Joey and I visited her on Saturday. She was in and out of consciousness, but when she was awake, she recognized me and was alert.

Not knowing how to deal with the severely infirm or dying, I chose to make small talk, thinking I could (falsely) convey to her that I wasn't scared or overly concerned about her condition. I asked her if she knew I was having a boy. She nodded and tried to speak, but the breathing tube from the life-support machine made that impossible. Her eyes told me she was pleased, though.

I am thankful for that last bit of communication with her, especially because it was the last such communication from her at all.

Adding to the tragedy here is the fact that her only child, my cousin Scott, is in jail--which is where he has spent most of his adult life. Yes, he is that proverbial Black Sheep of our family. Anyway, apparently one cannot call an inmate in the jail or even visit the inmate unless he or she is on the inmate's approved guest list. With my limited dealings in correctional-facility etiquette, I figured that the only way to let Scott know about his mother was to write him a letter. So that's what I did; the letter went out on Saturday. I haven't heard from him yet; I am dreading telling him the some worst news a person could ever hear.

Sharon had a difficult life, and it saddens me all the more that it had to end this way. At least she is no longer suffering.