During his last two years, living at our house after Mom died, Daddy had two goals for his remaining days. Occasionally he simply wanted to die. Had I any trust in his mental accuity, especially short term memory, we might have had a serious discussion about that, including refusal of medicines which were keeping him in the best health possible for his condition. However, I had no trust in his ability to make that kind of decision for himself.
Besides, it seemed more of an expression of his frustration with his growing limitations. Those seemed better treated with new strategies for coping.
There was also his other wish for himself, exactly contradictory to the first one. He wanted to live longer than any of his siblings, especially Edith. He had already become the only remaining one of the ten, partly by virtue of being one of the youngest, partly the result of excellent and ever-advancing medical care. But Edith had lived to be 97, plus some unknown amount of months. He felt competitive, wanting to live a longer life than she had. At the time he died, he'd made it to 97 1/2, to the exact day. We had no idea however of how that ranked in longevity.
This past weekend, Paul and I drove up to Bemidji and back, visiting my brother and his family. It's getting harder to find time to spend together, particularly as they no longer have our parents to visit down here. Our X-mas presents to them, meaning mostly Paul's homemade jellies, are difficult to mail. We wound up with two years' worth of jellies to deliver and decided to somehow make the time. Juggling schedules and weather, last weekend was it, and it was a great visit.
There was one unexpected bonus. GeorgeAnn keeps computer records of family geneology, and we spent some time going through it. I asked if she had exact birth and death dates for Aunt Edith. She had, and a little figuring revealed Edith had lived about 4 1/2 months past her 97th birthday.
Daddy had outlived her!
I wish we could have told him.