Ready to Die?
“I need to talk to you about something.”
She is speaking in a very soft voice, almost a whisper, so I take her hand and lean in close to catch her words.
“Something is the matter with me and I don’t know what it is.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, thinking she may refer to pain.
“Well, I’m not going to have a baby …”
Bea makes a face at the silliness of this statement. Elderly women do not have babies. We both have a good laugh. Then I get it. Bea does not understand why she is in the hospital bed. I go into a lengthy explanation of how she had bursitis and spent time at Cape Cod Hospital, then in rehabilitation. I explain about Medicare paying for her electric bed, which makes it easier for me to care for her in our home.
“When people reach extreme old age, they don’t get out of bed anymore. That’s what happened to you. You got elderly.”
Bea thinks this over and says, “I must be really elderly then.”
“96 ½. Almost 97.”
I squeeze her hand. There is a short silence. Bea is trying to figure out how to express her feelings. Finally, almost apologetically, she says, “I’m ready to die, but it just doesn’t happen …”