Thursday, December 01, 2005

Did They Have to Cut Off His Leg?

This is in memory of Lucy’s Aunt Margaret who passed away yesterday. Margaret was an older sister to Lucy’s father, Bob, who passed away a little over 5 years ago.

The last couple of years for Bob were very limiting as he had to drag around an oxygen canister with those plastic hoses plugged in his face and hanging over his ears. He had to give up his gardening, something which he really enjoyed because it wore him out just walking across the room.

The last few days in the hospital were agonizing for his kids as they wondered which phone call would alert them to his passing. We had all gone down to visit him one evening and he had complained that it was cold so the nurse had put an extra blanket over him as he crooked one leg up under the other to stay warm. Margaret happened by and in the half light of the room saw the outline of his knee under the cover. Without anything else to go on, “Did they have to cut off his leg?” She left the room all in a bother as her empathy for her dear brother overtook reason. There was no convincing her that his leg hadn’t been cut off.

Aunt Margaret sat behind us at Bob’s funeral and I almost lost it when she started to go on about them cutting off Bob’s leg again. There Bob lay in the casket in his “going to church Sunday best suit” and his sister was still asking, “Did they have to cut off his leg?”.

Margaret’s funeral is set for Monday and I’ve been asked to attend as a pall bearer. I know these last years are tough on so many with loss of physical and mental capacities that may have been taken for granted; that is until Alzheimer’s, arthritis, osteoporosis or any number of the “golden year” afflictions limit the enjoyment of those years. When we got the call about Margaret, my first thought brought a smile to my face as I pictured the scene at the hospital, “Did they have to cut off his leg?” Now Margaret will get to meet up with Bob, both legs working just fine on the “other side”, and catch up on things.

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