I believe that people know when it’s time for them to go. There are those of us that know that we have over stayed our welcome and may leave a party too late, or may be asked to leave. But when it really matters, when it’s really time, we just know it.
The last time my grandmother came to stay with us, she knew she was going to die. She had packed up her room leaving nothing behind, and when she arrived at our house, she gave us every picture she owned. She told us that she didn’t need them anymore. I thought she was being silly and told her so, and she said to me, “I’m going to die soon.” I told her not to say that, and three months later she was gone.
Several months ago, my uncle’s wife left him. She was much younger than he and decided she wanted to be with a younger man. Never mind that he had left his family long ago for her, or that they had been together for ten years. She just wanted someone younger. Perhaps the thought of having to take care of someone in his 70’s was too much for her. Perhaps she’s just a total bitch – this is what I’m sticking with. When she left, he had nothing. We found out that she had been the one supporting him.
He had no money, no wife, and could no longer afford his apartment. A few weeks after we found out that she was leaving him, he began giving away all of his things. He stopped making plans far out in advance. The joy in his life was just gone. You could see it in his face, you could hear it in his voice. When my mother told me that she thought he was preparing for his death, I told her that she was being silly. I truly believed that he was just going through a dark time and would be able to get past it.
He was admitted to the hospital a week ago Saturday, and his health has quickly deteriorated. From what I hear from my mother, it seems like he’s just lost the will to fight. My mother and my cousins want to keep fighting for him, but he has totally disengaged. He’s slowly slipping away, he’s ready to go.
My uncle and I have had a tumultuous relationship for years. I would in no way describe our relationship as close, yet knowing that he’s just given up makes me sad. He’s 74 years old, that doesn’t seem so old to me anymore. My grandmother was 83 when she died, my grandfather 86. My mother and my cousins hate his now ex wife for what she had done to him. They believe that she is at fault for everything. She probably is.
When I spoke with my mother this afternoon she told me they were moving him to intensive care. She asked me to fly down there to be with her. I leave tomorrow or Thursday for Mexico City. I doubt that he’ll make it until then. At this point in my life, it’s difficult for me to grasp why he has given up. Then again, I can’t imagine loving anyone so much that I would die without him. He is dying of a broken heart.