Don't Bring them to Me after I'm Dead
She was happy and
doing much better at home with me looking after her than she
would have been in a nursing home. She could watch TV
anytime she wanted, watch the kids playing, the people
coming and going and see the folks dropping by to chat.
She used to say, "When I croak, I don't want no funeral with
all the crocodile tears, flowers and mourning. I'm gonna
will my body to some medical college. As for flowers, give
them to me while I'm still alive to touch and smell them." I
took care of her for the next seven or eight months. There
were times when she was able to get out of bed and make it
into the kitchen and sit down at the table to eat.
One day she called the Legal Aid office to see if she could
get a lawyer to draw up a will for her. A few days later, a
woman lawyer showed up. She drew up May's last will and
testament and told her that she would have it notarized and
sent back to her.
May then called the Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson
City and told them that she was leaving her remains to them.
They told her that they would send her an ID and a request
card. A week later, she received the copy of the will and
the donor card from the medical college in the mail.
The fourth of July, we stayed awake until after twelve
o'clock, watching the fireworks. Every time that there was a
loud bang, Gee Gee would come running and jump up on the bed
with May and get under the covers. May got the biggest kick
out of her.
The next morning, she asked me to call the Rescue Squad and
I did. In about fifteen minutes, they arrived, helped May
out of the bed and onto the stretcher. They put her into the
ambulance for the ride back to the hospital.
Every morning around eight o'clock, I would go see her and
we would talk about bygone days.
On the sixth of July, I walked into her room and saw a
urinal bag hanging on the side of her bed. There were
bottles hanging on stands with plastic tubes running from
them to her wrists and a heart monitor going 'beep, beep,
beep.' She looked at me, raised her right hand and waved it
at me, because she had an oxygen mask on and was unable to
talk. About that time, a nurse came into the room with a
tray and put it down on the table beside May's bed.
She took the mask off May's face and opened a can of Sprite.
When May looked over at me, the nurse did a switch and got a
bottle of Fleet. She put glass straw in it, held it up to
May's mouth, saying, "May sure does like her Sprite, don't
you, Honey?" May smacked her lips and said, "yeah man," and
started sucking on the straw.
Then a nurse came in with a rubber sheet and a cart with all
the equipment on it to give her an enema and the nurse asked
me to please step outside.
About ten minutes later, as I was going back to May's room,
in the hallway I ran into the nurse that gave her the Fleet
and asked her about it. She explained that May's bowels were
locked and they were trying to get her to have a bowel
movement on her own.
When I got back into the room, May had the mask on again and
sounded like she was asleep. I decided to leave and go back
As I left, I don't know why, but I started thinking about
what May had said about the flowers. "Don't bring them to me
after I'm dead. Bring them to me while I'm still alive and
can see and smell them."
Well, I drove straight to the local florist shop and it was
closed. As I started to drive away, the florist's delivery
truck pulled up and stopped. The driver, a woman, got out,
walked up to my van and asked if she could help me.
I said, "You sure can! My wife is here in the hospital and I
would like to have some flowers to send to her room today.
She said that she wants them now, not after she is dead."
I handed the woman all the money I had on me at the time,
about a hundred and fifty dollars. She counted the money and
told me that I would have to come in, pick out what kind of
flowers I wanted and she would write me a receipt.
When I entered the door, the first thing I saw was this big
basket of roses and ferns with a little white stuffed poodle
sitting on it. I pointed to it and told her that May would
like that. When the lady asked me what else I would like, I
told her that May like jonquils, daisies and Lilacs and that
it didn't matter, just get her some flowers. The woman told
me that May would have her flowers in a couple of hours.
Later on that evening when I went back to see May, the room
looked like a florist shop. There were flowers all around
the room, in the windows, on the floor, on the tables, even
on the unoccupied bed next to her. But best of all, the
basket with the poodle on it was in plain view where she
could see it.
As I walked in, she looked up at me with a big smile on her
face. Her oxygen mask was off, so I plucked a rose off one
of the stems, walked over to the bed and held the rose up to
her nose. She took a whiff, looked up at me and said, "Fats,
I love you."
I quipped, "Why don't you tell me something that I don't
already know? I love you too, ever since you told me to move
over!" I kissed her on the cheek and she said, "Be sure to
feed the birds and take care of my little dog."
To be Continued