A Request From The Folks At Home
Just popping in for a second, at the request of my parents, of all people.
My grandmother died this afternoon. I don't really feel like writing about it right now, but eventually, I will probably get around to telling you all about her.
Basically, y'all should know that she was an awesome, no-bullshit kind of lady. She was classy, and she was cool, and she was a hell of a lot of fun. We took her out to dinner every Sunday, and every Sunday, she demanded a filet mignon and a glass of champagne.
This...has a tendency to limit your restaurant selection. But she insisted, and I'm glad she did. I hope she enjoyed the hell out of it.
There are some great stories about my grandmother that I will probably tell y'all sometime. She adored Dukay, for example, and wouldn't let him enter her home unless she had put on her lipstick. And she always wore bright red lipstick. The redder, the better. She was that kind of girl.
We called my grandmother Sissie, and that's actually a pretty awesome story right there; when she was born -- into a family of three girls -- they were getting desperate for a brother. So when she came out, minus the...you know, boy parts they had hoped for, they immediately dubbed her "Sister Bill." Her real name was Catherine, but she's been known as Sissie ever since. I have never, in all of my life, heard her called "Catherine." She is Sis.
And Sissie died today; it wasn't sudden, because she had been becoming more and more frail for years, and hospital trips had become pretty common. About ten days ago, she was taken to the hospital for the last time.
On Friday, Sis left the hospital and was placed into hospice care at Hospice Atlanta. And they were so kind. When she died there this afternoon, we all knew that she was comfortable. She was surrounded by the people that she loved. And then she was gone.
I did not want to write about Sissie's death, and frankly, I had no intention of announcing any of this to the world at large. Sis lived until she was almost ninety, and she had a wonderful and full life. Sis was a reason to celebrate, and I didn't think I could write about her without sounding like it was some ploy for sympathy, and that was not my intention at all. And so I decided that I would just take a few days, and then I would return, probably with a story about chopping off my remaining toes, or buying the entire Fall inventory at Zappo's.
However, after I got home this evening, my parents called me with a request. They asked me to tell all of y'all about what wonderful work Hospice Atlanta is doing. And they are doing wonderful work; they have a beautiful facility, with a library, private dining rooms, and a chapel. Sissie's room opened onto a patio with a fountain. It is a peaceful place.
But the people there are truly extraordinary; the nurses and doctors who attended to Sis were so kind, and so understanding. They sat with us, and they were willing to talk for as long as we wanted. On Friday, my father met with the doctor in charge; later, when he told me about his visit, he was amazed that she had been so giving with her time.
"She would have talked to me all day, if I had needed it," he told me, amazed. "And she would have listened to me all day, too."
The services offered by Hospice Atlanta are completely covered by Medicare. They provide care for anyone with a short life expectancy, and they have the resources to make that time as comfortable as possible -- not only for those who are dying, but also for those who are left behind.
And Hospice Atlanta, like many other hospices around the country, is a non-profit organization. They rely primarily on donations in order to maintain their services. Oddly, we have donated to the facility for years, without really knowing what they did; tomorrow, however, we will be making a donation in honor of Sister Bill, champagne dinners, and one enormous crush on my boyfriend.
If you can, I urge you to give to Hospice Atlanta, in memory of someone you love. And even if you can't, I hope you put on some Frank Sinatra and your best red lipstick, and smile a little, for a lady who knew it was time to go.