My great-grandmother went to bed one evening and didn’t wake up for a number of days. Finally, 4 or 5 days later, she awoke, lifted her head, looked at her husband of 70 years marriage and said softly “I’ve loved you for 70 years now and I would do it all over again.” Then she looked at her daughter and said “Daughter” nodded her head, laid back down and died in her sleep shortly thereafter.
Edit: Just to clarify, she didn’t say “daughter” in a boring, emotionless monotone voice. It is a bit hard to understand since you weren’t there to hear the tone of love in her voice and eyes. It was all very peaceful.
When I first started as a 911 dispatcher I had a call come in and all that the person said was “Tell them I’m sorry” and hung up. I knew right away what we were going to find when we got there. It was the worst feeling i just felt so dirty that I was the last one to talk to this guy, and no matter how fast we sent help it didn’t matter it was just too late. So I guess he was confessing, but it just made me feel icky.
I was a health care aid on a geriatric ward when a woman so old and frail she looked dead already motioned to me to come to her. I put my ear next to her mouth and she quietly said, “I just wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to someone.” It broke my heart. She died a few days later.
My cousin had Cystic Fibrosis, and had gotten a double-lung transplant at the age of 24. I’d grown up knowing that she was most likely going to die young, but with her lung transplant we thought she’d get another decade or two at best. About two months later I got a call late at night, saying that she’d been admitted to the emergency room, then the thoracic ICU. Unfortunately, she had bilateral pneumonia and a fungus in her lungs. My mom and I drove halfway across the country to see her, and it was awful. Her organs were shutting down, and her parents and doctors were debating whether or not to get her a second lung transplant.
She had decided not to go to college, instead trying to do different things in life, because I think she knew her time as an adult was limited. She went to Disney World (we were huge Disney fans as kids, especially Little Mermaid) with Make a Wish Foundation. She wanted to see the world, do everything she could. So when I came to see her, I sat and rubbed her cheek–pretty much the only spot on her body that wasn’t bruised or had tubes running in and out. I told her about my recent trip to Africa, about elephants in our camp, about living in Scotland, about my recent semester in college. I told her, “I’ll do everything for you. It’s okay.”
She opened her eyes and smiled at me, and then closed them again. It was the last time I saw her awake and alive. She died a few days later; she got the second transplant, and never woke up.
She loved butterflies, and since she died, I’ve had them land on me with strange regularity all over the world. She’s going with me because I’m living for both of us, or so I’m going to keep telling myself.