Sunday morning, November 29th, and we’re meeting the kids for breakfast. We arrive and ask where they want to eat, and whether Jeanette and Brian (my niece and her husband) will be joining us. Omelet Factory is the pat response, and yes, Jeanette and Brian will meet us there. Soon, everyone is ready to rock & roll so we pile into our respective cars. After breakfast, Robert and I will leave the restaurant and head for Vista and a visit with my terminally ill sister, Barbara. She has advanced Parkinson’s and is in Hospice care.
Breakfast was over fairly quickly and we hugged and said out goodbyes in the parking lot of the restaurant. I wasn’t sure I could remember how to get to the care facility so had asked Diane to look it up on her phone. We went North on I-15 then West on Hwy. 78, and the directions had originally been written for travel from I-5 north to Hwy. 78 East, so we watched for the specified exit. At the last exit before I-5, I took the exit ramp and crossed over the highway, heading back East, thinking that we had somehow missed the right exit. Nope. The exit is only available when you’re heading East! Interesting…
When we got to the home, Robert stayed in the car and I went in to see my sister. She was in a wheelchair the last time we saw her (earlier this year, on our way back home from Arizona). I wasn’t anywhere close to being prepared for seeing her in such a diminished condition. I broke into tears after only a minute or two next to her bed. She looked like a Holocaust survivor–skin and bones and curled up in a fetal position. The small t.v. set across the room was playing Happy Feet and the penguin was singing such a sorrowful song that I burst into tears. When the Care Facility owner came into the room, I asked her how much my sister weighed and she said maybe 70 lbs. This is the sister who at her heaviest weighed 126 pounds! Always trim and athletic, now she was a shadow of who she used to be. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be sleeping; even with coaxing by the caretaker, she wouldn’t open her eyes. It broke my heart to see her like this. When I got back to the car I told Robert if I ever got a disease where I would be diminished like Barbara is right now, I wanted no visitors. I want people to remember me as I was in life — full of laughter and spirit. Euthenasia truly is the compassionate choice when faced with dying an inch at a time. I have no problem with people choosing to end their life rather than inching their way towards the inevitable, one excruciating day at a time. It’s torture for everyone and it’s really not a dignified way to die.
Enough sadness… after seeing Barbara, we headed East one more time and arrived in Tehachapi around 2:45 p.m. Not wanting to cook when I got home, we decided to stop at the local Denny’s and grab a bite to eat.
We were both so very glad to be home — much as we love seeing San Diego, our friends and family, we love our home here in Tehachapi, and miss it any time we’re away–even when we’re at our other home in Arizona!
Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Home is always where the heart is, no matter where you happen to be. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.