Thank you all again for your kind words & thoughts, they all help, they do.
I tried so many times in the last 3 days of this bus ride to come here & post a few details. I can't count the times I got three or four words typed & then had to leave. For that I am sorry.
OK.... I wish I could write a book about the last 40 hours of Marty's life but I'm too slow at typing and by the time I got to typing it, I'd have forgotten things. But, I will tell this one slice, and I can promise you, I will never, ever, forget this:
Since Marty was 19 years old she wore false teeth, uppers and lowers. In 32 years I only saw her without her teeth a handful of times (and never a clear view). There were only two times she would remove them. In privacy to clean them and if she was going to barf. When she was nauseous, she's spit them out, I'd wash them while she was puking, and I'd hand them back. She'd put them back in while still leaned over the bucket.
As things progressed and the dying process followed it's due course, Marty started breathing more through her mouth. Meds had been going in mixed with ice cream and as nature has it, her mouth was getting to be a bit yucky. We swabbed with little sponges on a stick with ice water....she liked the cold... but we could only do so much. Her sister Carla suggested we get her teeth and clean them. Seemed like a good idea, so "MARTY, spit your teeth out". She could not hear us. Sitting on the bed, Eloise on one side, me on the other, we helped her sit and Carla went in..... she pried & wiggled, Marty resisted. Finally, she got the uppers out. Eloise went to wash them while Carla kept trying to get the lowers. " Spit those out! You'll feel better if you spit them out!" said Carla. Marty couldn't hear or understand, but Carla kept trying and talking "Come on, you'll feel better". One full minute later Eloise came back with the clean uppers and just as she stepped into the room Carla got the lowers loosened. They rattled once in Marty's mouth, and CHOMP, Marty bit Carla's finger! Carla pulled back, Marty's mouth shut and the lowers clicked back into place. OK, that was enough, we put the clean uppers in and the lowers stayed in place. But....that's not the story..... Here's the story:
Marty's breathing had been strong but labored for hours. Finally, after breathing enough air to climb two mountains her breathing started to slow. Carla had fallen asleep on the couch....we had been taking turns with 5 minute walks or cat naps. For 48 hours at all times someone was holding Marty's hand. You never really know what they might hear or know and we thought maybe Marty didn't want a particular one of us to see her die, so for 5 minutes each hour we took turns leaving for 5 minutes. Cuz Chrissy, Eloise, Carla and myself. There were others in & out, but it was the four of us for the final few hours. When Marty skipped one breath Eloise woke Carla. It's now 11:30 PM or so. Over the course of the next few minutes Marty's breathing became very shallow. We knew the time was close. Tears started dripping off Chris's face. One sniffle from her & we all started having tears well up in our eyes. Marty stopped breathing for one full second. Tears start falling off our cheeks. Marty skips another breath, inhales again and for a few seconds is OK. Then she makes two quick breaths. in,out, in out. We are all bawling. Marty takes one last breath.....her final breath, and, (with my hand to God I am telling the truth) she spit her lower teeth onto the bed!!! Instantly we all started laughing. We laughed so hard I thought we'd coke on our tears. It was like Marty said "You want 'em? HERE, I'm DONE". She sure did it her way, right til the end.
<deep breath> So now.... trigger points bring tears. I'll be OK for a while, then have a sniffle, then be OK for a while, then just bawl for 5 minutes. With minutes to spare I got a quick obituary in today's newspaper. It just gave one line, a photo, and "Full obituary following tomorrow". I will spend however long it takes today to write an obit. Marty wrote one, but it needs so much more. The newspaper puts the obits on line. I'll post a link in case any of you would like to see it.