Dear Joanie,

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Darling, sad news – Stanley passed away in the night.
I’m sorry for announcing it so bluntly – but I’m all red-eyed and exhausted, and have, for the moment, lost my usual knack for diplomacy. Of course we knew it was imminent – there’s only so much a body can take. He was old and worn, basically. But even when you know the end is near, part of you doesn’t want to believe it, don’t you find?
Dr. Harman dropped by early in the evening, bless his soul, gave Stan a sedative, and told us to sit with him, be close to him, and that was all we could do for him. “But it is a lot,” he added. And yes, for that I am grateful. Stanley didn’t die alone.
In the middle of the night, he let out an odd grunt, then panted frantically for several minutes, his eyes bulging from the effort. I could see his extreme discomfort, and the sedative had worn off, but Burke said I shouldn’t call dr. Harman. I didn’t want to argue over Stanley’s bed, but I think it’s a doctor’s duty to do anything he can, even if it’s the middle of the night, and I do think I should have called him – even if he really couldn’t do anything, it would have been a reassurance to have him by the bed.
Don’t you agree?
Then  came the death throes. L ‘agonie, as the French call it. Oh darling, so awful! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to erase the image from my mind – Stanley half-conscious, half gone to a better world, yet in obvious distress…He was so far away from us, and then suddenly, his eyes opened, and there was a moment when I knew he recognized me. It was very brief. I think he knew – he knew that he was going to die.
Thank God I was there for him. But of course, in the end, we all die alone. No one can help us through the transition.
And now, we are left with the pain. Even Burke, who used to pretend he didn’t much care for Stanley, and shooed him off the couch quite brusquely many a time. But I know that deep down he adored Stan. He’s been digging a grave all afternoon, didn't want for dr. Harman to take his little body away.
Darling, I am heartbroken…Will write more, soon. Right now I need a Valium.


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