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Death and Dying

Even as a doctor I do not feel comfortable with death. Should I?
My step mother died 3 weeks ago. She had had metastatic colon cancer for years and had only slowly progressed. Since December however, she began deteriorating more rapidly. At 81, not well himself and 18 years after having lost my mother, to a rare uterine cancer, this was not wearing well with Dad. I have to admit I was never really close with Marilyn. My brother and sister offer as much as well. These late arrangements seem to often work this way. She was a bit of a fusspot and subtly or not, controlling. She became completely dependent on him and when he had a hospitalization in the fall I went down to see him and help a bit with her. Her early familial alzheimers was also adding to his and her burden. She was admitted to the hospital based Hospice several days before dying. My sister, niece, and nephew flew from Pittsburgh to help. She kept on in the hope of improving enough to go home today or tomorrow. On the way back from the bathroom she became anxious, began agonal respirations and died. Dad was there with Cherri, Brit and Tim as she died. Not at home, but with family and support. She is being interred in Ohio this week, Dad in attendance. It has been difficult for him, maybe not like the first time. This was her gift to him, some growth in the world. He has more support now, wider, but not too deep. Mom and he had few friends but her death and Marilyn's addition to his life expanded him socially. They traveled, they joined, they entertained. George Jr and Sr are competent, we can cook and clean and wash clothes and fix things. We do not need help to do things but we need help to be us. She did that. He gave her his competence after years of being her family's crutch. Mom and mom in law and her husband. Straight up trade. Good deal all around for a second go around. She was a fusspot though. Came in to my living room one day and picked up the remote and changed the channel while Vicki and I were watching a favorite sci fi show. Her show was coming on. She had a good showing at the memorial. The alphabet soup of organizations that she and Dad joined were there in force. I enjoyed the service, some tears flowed but I am a sensitive sort.

Her second born, had not visited her in 12 or so years and failed to show during her last few days as well. She and Dad traveled to see them. Even Florida did not have enough pull. He did see her before she was cremated.

Dad misses her.
I miss her too.