NOTE: Every couple of weeks I go through my trove of essays and poems. I found this one today. Not sure if I posted it on OS.

PROLOGUE: I wrote this five years ago. At the time I had just moved into continuing care with my husband. The facility ( called a village)  was set up so that all of the residential units could be accessed via hallways which were connected to a central lobby. It looked and felt like a hotel. At the end of each corridor was a bulletin board announcing current events and obituaries.

2012

She was a sweet lady of 80 something, who looked a lot like Betty White.

She was delighted when we moved into the empty apartment across the hall.

That was four months ago.

Now she is gone. Can’t wrap my head around it!

Makes no sense at all. None whatsoever.

I found out about her death on the bulletin board at the end of the hall.

I nearly fainted! Had to go back and run my finger over her name. Johanna?

Dead? Can’t be!

It was just two weeks ago, when she bent over to get some

milk out of the fridge. She told me about it, the morning it happened.

“ I heard something crack in my back.” she said.

 

She was sitting on the edge of her bed when I came in.

She asked me to help her with her  prepacked hospital bag.

She asked me to get the pocket book, which she hid in the clothes hamper.

 

Security was already there when I arrived. It is protocol here. Fall. Call.

Security arranges for transport to the hospital next door. 

 

I waited for a few days to call and inquire about her condition. 

I was told me that she had been discharged and sent to the INN.

 

The INN is where people go to recuperate. It is where you go to get better

or die. Johanna was alive when I went to visit her there.

 She was dead a week later. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

 

She asked me to get her some Ensure. I tried, but there were no written orders.

I didn’t have any legal right to get it for her.  The nurse asked me,

“What is your interest in this person?”

I answered, “ She is my neighbor.” I came to visit her.

 

“Well, you’re not on her list of approved persons allowed

to intervene, instruct, get, gather, or inquire.

Additionally, it is Sunday. The dietician is off.”

 

I promised Johanna I would be back.

She wanted her mail. I told her I’d get it and bring in the paper.

She said she'd call the front desk for permission.

But I never heard from the front desk.

And I never saw Johanna again.

POST SCRIPT:

Johanna was cremated and her remains were to be taken out to the Gulf of Mexico and dumped there. Her son said she wanted to be with her husband whose remains were also dumped there. He added sarcastically, “What a party that is going to be!”

Johanna told me she didn’t like her son. Didn’t want him to have her art and sculpture. She said she didn’t like his wife either. “ A nut case” she added.

“All they want are my things,” she told me. “ But they aren’t going to get them. I’m going to sell them.”

However, it didn’t happen that way. Johanna died suddenly and guess who is getting all the stuff?

Soon, maybe tomorrow, her nameplate will be off the door. Maintenance will be inside cleaning, replacing and prepping for the next tenant. The dutiful son is packing the ‘legacy’ items, which will be shipped, to his home in the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views: 90

Comment by Anne Armand on October 6, 2017 at 7:22am

I was telling my friend about this and remembered that the son dropped a key to a safe or safety deposit box on the carpet outside the apt. After his mother's death, he told the front desk that he opened the safe and his mother's jewelry was gone. The police were called. Johanna's friend mentioned to me that Johanna had gone to an antiques dealer a few weeks before she went to the hospital. She was in the process of selling her things and it was therefore possible that she sold her jewelry. The other theory was that the son took it and wanted it to look like a burglary. As I said, she disliked him and more that him, was the really nasty daughter-in-law.

Comment by koshersalaami on October 6, 2017 at 8:38am

Good description of how death works. 

Comment by Ron Powell on October 8, 2017 at 8:10am

"The other theory was that the son took it and wanted it to look like a burglary. As I said, she disliked him and more that him, was the really nasty daughter-in-law."

Quite likely she sold the jewelry....

He had no need or reason to draw attention to the fact it was missing if no one knew it was there.

That's how theft works

Comment by Ron Powell on October 8, 2017 at 8:28am

On the other hand. ..

If she sold it, where's the money?

If she died without a will  and the son had no siblings everything would go to him anyway....

Claiming the jewelry was lost or stolen would  be a way for him to avoid or reduce estate taxes...

Any probate court would likely appoint him administrator of her estate  meaning he would be responsible for settling outstanding debt before taking title or ownership of the personal belongings.

If she had any debt the court would order liquidation of estate assets until the debt was satisfied...

Good reason to claim that the jewelry was stolen. ..

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