Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our Dear Friend, Elaine

This Monday morning just after midnight at 12:33AM, our dear friend, Elaine, passed away.

She was in her own bed at home, with her brother at her side, her little doggie companion, Larry; and, by the grace of God, I was there, too. We had called in a nurse for the evening to help, Lucy, who is a darling Christian woman from Haiti, who helped me and Darlene with Elaine's care when she first came home from her original lung cancer surgery 3 years ago. Lucy was standing with us, and it was such a comfort to all of us...even to Elaine, I'm sure.

On Thursday of last week Elaine got her hair fixed, had her nails done, a pedicure, and played a "last game" (she told me) of her weekly card game at her house. After the cards, she was taking Larry out, fell on the concrete patio and really scrapped her face. Darlene was with her at the time. They immediately called me. I went over and we three sat and talked over what it meant with concern. That was the very last afternoon we were able to do that with Elaine really conscious. That evening and the next evening she crumpled and fell again going to the bathroom even with me beside her. My DH, Darlene and I all had to get her back to bed. We knew it wasn't good....she became more and more "out of it" as every hour passed.

I stayed Thursday night with her and all the rest of the days and nights until she died....we took turns giving her morphine and a mild muscle relaxant every 2 hrs., and finally morphine every hour as her pain increased. Darlene working with her early mornings until 2Pm, and me from then and through the night until 7AM when Dar got there. She remained on a surprisingly moderate to low dose of morphine....so it really was the overwhelming progression of her disease that beat her this final time.

Darlene is the "I need to do something," one of our little threesome. So, she ran errands during the morning into the late afternoon, bringing medical supplies, food, prescriptions, milkshakes, picking Elaine's brother up from the airport, and whatever was needed. She helped with phone calls to Hospice and to setting up home health aides (which we never ended up using after all our calls and scheduling...), calls for medical equipment and oxygen refills.

I'm the emoting one....so I did the actual caretaking of Elaine. Staying up with her all through the night, giving her meds by the hour, whispering and talking with her even when she slipped into the coma, holding her hand and rubbing her feet, bathing her. We both worked to keep her comfortable as she continually ran a lowgrade temp. Darlene and I worked to move and set her comfortably in bed and to change her into comfortable pjs...things like that.

The last thing she said on Thursday evening was, "Deb, I did everything I wanted to do." I told her that was good. A few minutes later she sighed, "Oh, Deborah, this is all I want now." I said, "What, Sweetie? To be comfortable and rest?" and she smiled and said, "Yes," as she fluffed her pillows and made a comfy spot to sleep.

Elaine was a dear friend, a faithful and staunch supportive friend. She was somebody you could count on to come to your rescue at a moment's notice. She was a friend you could tell your secrets to and expect them to be kept. She shared everything with me with great generosity of heart and spirit....from her salads at dinners out to bequeathing me her little child/companion, her doggie, Larry. She was a caring friend. I loved that she could tell it like it was...."Deborah, you are looking too old with that white and grey in your hair....turn it back to blond!!" :]

Larry was the love of her heart. He was her constant little friend. He's a mini poodle with silver hair that she kept meticulously groomed in the old-fashioned "poodle cut." She spoiled him rotten. Larry doesn't like other people....growls at pretty much everyone....won't let anyone touch him or feed him....or take him out except Darlene and me....and slept and sat with Elaine every second. Larry never left her side. Stayed on her bed even after they took her away. The next morning I had to coax him out from under her bed. He bit me!@! Finally, I got him out and soothed and petted him. Fed him and told him it was okay. When I took him home, my little yorkie, Clara, (they'd met on previous occasions, though there never seemed to be any love lost between them! :[ ) met him quietly and they've been soooo good with each other since! A true shock to me!!! There has to have been some angelic intervention to all of this transition. Larry does not generally like people and other dogs.....yet, he follows me around now, always is sitting by my side and lays next to me in the bed. I think Elaine has had something to do with all this. What a gift she gave me. Larry was the single most important thing in her life....

I'm going to miss her so much. On this Wednesday, Elaine will be buried beside her mother and father in a cemetery in Brookline, Mass. at about 2PM. If you think of it...remind yourself of her....think of how you contributed to her "love---chemo---quilt," how you held her up in your prayers over this past 3 years, how sometimes she was in your thoughts and you were in hers, how you sent her notes and sweet cards and little gifts that she loved, and how she became your friend, too. Darlene and I are going to lunch and we're going to have a toast to Elaine. If you think of it....please have one too.

Thank you, dear friends, for all your love and support.

Deb

PS: Elaine's "Love Quilt" will be taken to California by her brother, Steven, to be given as a baby gift to her youngest neice, Tara's, first baby....a girl, who's expected some time this Summer. :]

25 comments:

Teresa S. said...

What a beautiful friendship--God Bless Elaine!

KarenV said...

{{{{Deb}}}}

May Elaine rest in peace - I'm glad that she was surrounded by all her loved ones at the end.

Margaret said...

Hugs to you, Deb. My thoughts are with you all.

Patti said...

Huge hugs to you my Mini Me. I just have to tell you that you are one totally wonderful friend and I am so grateful you are mine. My condolences to you and everyone else.
Lots and Lots of Love
Queenie xxx

Tracey said...

I am so sorry for your loss.. God bless you for the dear friend you were to her!

Katrina said...

Deb I am so sorry about Elaine. What a dear friend you were to her. Lots of hugs and prayers for you and her friends and family.

I think it's so sweet her little puppy has attached himself to you and he's getting along with your baby. Will his new home be with you?

{{{{hugs}}}}

Lynn said...

Oh Deb, I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family as well as all of Elaine's family and friends. Yours was a friendship that was truly blessed. Larry will be a reminder that she is always with you through him. You'll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as you grieve.
Here's a toast to Elaine!

Love, Lynn

Nicole said...

Oh I'm so sorry Deb. You were such a good, sweet, kind friend to her. I know you will miss her and glad that you have her baby to look after. Lots of hugs - you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hope to see you in a month or so, so I can give you a real hug.

Love,
Nicole

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Deb. You was a faithful and kind friend and I am sure Elaine truly valved your friendship. I am sooooooo sorry for your lost. My heart goes out to you and her family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs Judy

Von said...

What a dear testament to the amazing friendship you had with Elaine, Deb. I know how precious she was to you and that her passing leaves a tremendous gash in the fabric of your life. May God in His mercy bring you comfort and peace, and your memories of Elaine bring a smile to your face.
Sending you big hugs.

Lynn B said...

Oh Deb, I am so sad for your loss, you were such a good friend to Elaine, she was very fortunate. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jeanne said...

Deb I'm so very sorry for you. You knew it was coming but still it must be very hard. What a friend you were - like a dear sister to Elaine. There aren't many people in this world you can really count on when you need it, and you were that person for your friend. Passing on peacefully with our loved ones near us is the best we can hope for in this world. {{hugs}}

Kelly said...

Deb, My thoughts and prayers are with you, Elaine's family,and Larry.

Stitching Cat said...

Dear Deb -- so sorry to read of Elaine's passing. I know that you and Anthony were a great solice to her and I am sure that there are no words which can help ease the pain at this time. You and I both know to well that time will heal and the wonderful memories will remain. So sweet to ready of Larry and Clara getting along so well. They will help you get through this time. Love to you! Deb

Carol R said...

I'm sorry to hear of Elaine's passing. I've emailed you.

Siobhan said...

Oh my gosh, Deb. I am so so sorry. Big hugs.

Sally said...

I am so sorry for your loss Deb {{{{hugs}}}} My thoughts and prayers are with you.

mainely stitching said...

Oh, Deb, I'm so sad that I'm crying. But I'm also glad for Elaine that she was surrounded by those who love her best. Many hugs and loving thoughts to you.

lenna said...

Oh Deb when I saw your post I knew it was your sweet friend Elaine. I am so sorry I did not know her but boy was she lucky to have you as her dear loyal true friend.
I am glad you got Larry and he will be a wonderful companion to you as well.
You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you for being there with her.
I started following your blog when you were working on the "quilt" and I have thought of you both often over the past months.
Take care and may Elaine rest in Peace and here's a toast to her.
God Bless You Deb ~
Lenna

Brigitte said...

I feel so sorry for you and your Elaine's family. Many hugs to you, Deb.

Jan said...

Deb, I am so sorry to read of your loss of such a dear friend. I am beyond a doubt sure that she was blessed by your loving friendship and all of the care that you gave to her. Enjoy Larry, I know that you will!

{{{hugs}}}

Suzanne said...

Oh Deb, I am so sorry, I have only read this post and my heart sunk. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. She couldn't have had a better friend than you.

I send you lots of hugs. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Kathy said...

My sympathies to you on the loss of your dear friend. I know you will miss her terribly, but having Larry with you will be helpful. Besides that you are helping him with his grieving process too. Dogs just know what to do to help you.

Marie-P said...

My heart truly aches for you, I know what a treasured friend Elaine was to you (and you to her). I am overwhelmed with sadness, and type through the tears. How sweet that you have Larry and what a comfort it was to Elaine to know that he would be taken care of by such a wonderful, caring individual.
My thoughts will be with you ~ I'll talk with you via email.
Sending you comforting {{{HUGS}}} my friend.

Vilma aka Examplar Dame said...

Dear Deb, My sympathies for the lost of your dear friend Elaine, how blessed she was to have such a good friend like you in her life.

May she now rest by the Lord in peace.

Hugs, Vilma