Last month, we celebrated my Aunt Gertie’s 100th birthday with a very happy gathering of family and friends, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Though her mobility was limited and her memory was starting to fail her, she enjoyed company and was bright and cheerful right through her birthday celebration.
On Saturday of this week she suffered a stroke that left her unable to use her only good hand, able to speak only with difficulty, and, most importantly, unable to swallow. Despite this, the last day she was able to talk to me, on Monday, she spent most of my visit telling me, “I”m feeling fine,” and “I’m feeling much better,” and “You should go on now” — not wanting me to worry about her.
She slipped mostly into sleep after that, and when I visited her both yesterday and today she didn’t wake up when I or the nurses spoke to her. Finally, just after noon today, I was sitting by her bed when I realized that her light, shallow breathing had stopped — it happened so gently it took me a few minutes to realize she was gone. If only we could all be blessed with 100 years of mostly healthy, happy life and such a peaceful passage out of this world!
I’m very tired now and I’ll share more about Aunt Gertie and my memories of her later. Right now I’ll leave you with this blog post I wrote several years ago, about making blueberry pie with Aunt Gertie, and this video of Christopher interviewing her for a heritage fair project when he was eleven and she was 95.