I believe in internal strength.
You know the stories. The Sister and brother and being 7 years apart. The sister says she remembers when the brother was born how she wanted to take the baby down to the bottom of the garden and bury him but the gardener did not think that that was such a good idea. The brother was my father and the sister my aunt. Phyllis was born in 1914 and celebrated her 93rd birthday on April 23rd this year, St. George’s day, and we were there. She reminisced about my father, growing up through two world wars, and how as she grew older she missed him. Phyllis was thoroughly English with strong moral views, a love for gardening and gardens, and a wonderful sense of humor. Once when one of my children found a cabbage worm on his plate along with the broccoli, she laughed and said that one must be quiet about it or all the others would want one too.
My father had served in the Royal Navy and nearly died twice when his ships were sunk but somehow came to the top to come out of the navy, make a new life, and move to America with his beloved second wife. The summer our middle child graduated from high school, Daddy developed an illness, slowly getting more tired. This is the legacy of old age leukemia. We lived 500 miles away and did not see him much but planned to renew our annual trek for Chirstmas, along with my siblings. The Fall months had been rough, my step mother had faced many trials but Daddy hung on until everyone arrived. Then on Christmas morning he was gone. We were there. My Aunt missed him terribly. She saw him infrequently but as the years passed they had grown closer. So four days after her birthday, and 12 years since my father died, my husband and I sat holding her hands in the privacy of her room at the nursing home as she passed away. We were there. I believe in the internal strength of individuals to be able to wait to die until that moment when those who love them can be close at hand.
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