This is Sam, my father-in-law. He’s going into his 103 year, and is still smiling. Yet every night, his last words before falling asleep:
God, please let me die
He’s not suffering in any major way: the swollen ankles and chronically congested chest don’t bother him as much as they do the doctor at his upscale Retirement Home. “He should go to the hospital.” Yet Sam does not want to go anywhere. He just wants out.
I’m going to die. [pause] I’m overdue
He has all his wits about him, still makes sure to get to the dining room for lunch and dinner – tho that may be as much for brief social contact as it is for nutrition.
He is everybody’s favourite there, too. This has become evident as his son puts in hours every day – spotting his father. The worry is, if he falls and breaks something, he won’t be able to stay in his ‘home’ to die.
These hours with his father are exhausting for sure, but memories are revisited, and laughter is shared. Finding a dirty coffee cup in the sink, his son scolds: “Mom would be giving you shit for this.” With a chuckle, the response is: “Don’t I know it”
His eldest granddaughter, explaining that she’s checking out studying abroad, elicits another zinger, with ensuing laughter, as this centenarian says:
I once studied a Broad
How to balance these joys with his desire to be gone. It’s my sister who came up with a ‘goodbye’ that’s better than Rest in Peace:
Live in memory, live in love