More on Betsy

I went over to the Chateau to visit June and Betsy yesterday afternoon.  Betsy was asleep, or at least not conscious.  She has a fever, and the hospice people are supposed to bring something for that today.  Meanwhile, June says she’s become very weak, and hasn’t really been responding much to people for the past couple of days.  As I said before, I don’t think she’s going to last much longer.

I have conflicting feelings about her these days.  She decided about a month ago that she was going to refuse medications except for palliative care, so that she could die.  I think she imagined it wouldn’t be more than a week or so, but it turns out she was stronger than she thought.  When she first told me about this decision, my response was to be supportive, as much as possible — it’s her choice, of course, and I don’t know what it’s like to be her.  On the other hand, she seemed like she was recovering well from her heart attack, and she was quite mobile, active, and lucid, so it just didn’t make much sense to me.

Now I find that I feel resentful, and I feel vaguely guilty and selfish about that.  The decision to die is a rejection of the world.  I had been making an effort to come and visit and spend time with Betsy almost every day, so it’s hard not to feel personally rejected.  At the same time, I know it’s absurd — she’s dying, so it’s all about me?  But I think that all of us feel this to some extent.  I know June has been very frustrated, since she more than anyone gave up time and other activities to stay with Betsy round the clock.

I did enjoy having Betsy living near us, even though it’s turning out to be for a pretty short time, just 9 months.  She can be funny in her acerbic way, and she was mentally sharp the whole time, until the morphine dulled her wits in the past week or two.  Not having the comfort of a belief in an afterlife, I just wish that I’d been able to spend more pleasant time with her before.

One Response to “More on Betsy”

  1. Travis says:

    It sounds like she’s depressed on top of everything else. I know with my father it’s hard to keep his mood up when he’s not feeling well. Lots of times he’s said he’d rather just give up. But physically, he’s really not that bad off. I wonder if it’s common for elderly people to believe/want to believe that they are sicker than they really are.

    This is a sad situation all around. Don’t feel bad about acknowledging your own feelings. It sounds like you are already mourning the loss, even if she’s not gone yet, of what she was and what you had with her. There’s nothing wrong with that.

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