Thursday, 03 July 2008

End of an Era

Gummy died yesterday, at 9:55am, less than an hour after I arrived. 30 September 1924 - 02 July 2008.

Description of Death following:
When I first arrived, his breathing was somewhat wheezy, but you could hear it and there was no doubt. His pulse, however, was weak. The nurses washed him, during which he stopped breathing and then started again. We all rushed back into his room, as that is apparently a sign of near-death. It took another twenty minutes or so for him to actually die. When we came back, his eyes were wide open [rather disconcerting, actually] and his breathing was much softer and slower. We sat with him, watching for every breath. His pulse got weaker and fainter and slower. Eventually he spasmed a couple of times - his face scrunched up and his shoulder twisted in a rather strange manner and that was it. He swallowed a few times, there were one or two more breaths, but his pulse had stopped and he was gone.

My personal opinion is that since his rapid deterioration took place only after Marga had left for Namibia, a fact that he seemed to understand when she told him about it, he simply gave up. While we weren't expecting him to last much longer, we were thinking it would be on the order of weeks to months, rather than days.
For an account of what he was like and so on, you can read Phil's post. I am currently having a little trouble getting past the bit where he looked like he'd been mummified, rather than anything like what he's supposed to look like. And for reference, here is one of the family pictures that my sister insists on every single Christmas. As you can probably imagine, Gummy is the old man in the middle.

So, I spent most of yesterday with my parents and Bandie. Bandie and Mom went to clear out his room and then Bandie went home to Riebeeck West. Mom and I took Retta's chair [my favourite chair, which is now mine] over to my place and waited for someone to come help us carry it up the stairs. I had contacted 3 people, in the hopes of getting someone to come and visit me. Lucas had specifically volunteered to help with the chair, but TheCareTaker got there first and carried it up 3 flights of stairs unaided. He and Lucas both hung around for a while, as did Mom. Then she left, then Wombat popped in briefly and then Lucas and Wombat left. TheCareTaker had managed to talk me into joining him for movies at the DMHiveMind. Somehow he managed to get me to eat as well. We watched a very silly movie, which was most enjoyable and then he took me home.

This morning, waking up very nearly didn't happen [why would I want to wake up after very little sleep on a morning like this?]. I did, however, eventually make it out of the house and head to campus. After passing some guy on the street, I heard my name called. Turns out the guy was Evhen, who I haven't seen in years. I've given up trying to work out who people are, as if I stopped for every skinny guy with long dark hair on the supposition that I must know them, I'd never get anything done. Evhen, however, had decided that based on my height and my chin, I must be me and he figured it wouldn't hurt to just yell my name and see what happened. Once I finally got to Hiddingh who should I see there but Sedge! Most bizarre, turns out she will be seeing Evhen later today, which makes it an even stranger coincidence.

In other news, there has been no game for the last couple of weeks, as Confluence was sick and Wombat was eaten by work. Wombat is now talking about a make-up session and the possibility of moving the game. Of course, it would be better if he spoke to Confluence about it rather than me, but there's nothing I can do about that.


Anonymous said...

hint hint, nudge nudge?


H* said...

Not too long ago I witnessed my grandmother's death. While there is comfort to be had from being present in a loved ones final hours, I found the moments when a conscious entity fades into unliving matter deeply disturbing. The loss of any life is a tragedy and the loss of one valued and treasured above others even more so. There is nothing good to say about death except, perhaps, that it only ends life and does not erase the record of it.

phillygirl said...

@h* - I think that last line of yours says it perfectly!