AFTER THAT conversation, it felt like something had been decided, ended,
for with every passing hour Ginny slipped further away from us, ebbed away from us on an outbound tide, despite our best and desperate attempts to stop her.
We saw it in her loss of mobility, how she needed to be aided everywhere with the help of a walker. Soon she barely moved at all. We saw it in the eyes of the Hospice nurse, who on Wednesday put a morphine drip in her arm. We saw it in each other. Death was with us. He had not visited before.
As her morphine increased, we lost Ginny to the nether world of the opiate, to whatever place of waiting she went to in her mind. There were moments of lucidity, but these became fewer and fewer. It robbed us of the chance to get close to her one last time, to come to some sort of acceptance and peace. It robbed Ginny of the chance to say goodbye, to write each of us those letters as she wanted to do.
But it was most cruel for Claire and Amber.
They arrived on Thursday, jet lagged from a twenty-four hour flight from London to the window of Ginny’s lucidity having passed. I picked them up from the airport and tried to prepare them for what they would first see: Ginny with the ever-present oxygen cord taped under her nose, drip in her arm, sallow, eyes half closed and lolling.
They understood. But understanding and seeing are two very different things. When they stepped into the lounge that night I watched their worlds fail. We could offer only small, cold comfort. At least you made it home in time.
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