The last few days of my aunt Rebecca were punctuated by intense suffering, incessant whims and visible pain. She bravely soldiered on. The amazon was wasting away as each day unfolded but she chose to hold on. There was life in her eyes; they still radiated her past glory but her frail self is in defiance.
She chose to twist the turns and arguably, she made her final days the most phenomenon of her years. She was generous with her time; her words depicted a rare sense of calm. She thrived in this halo, seemingly her condition imposing, clothed into this explicit individual who was jolly to be with.
Since her cancer diagnosis, Rebecca had slowly turned into a blurry reflection of her former self. Her prosthetics limited her movement before she was indefinitely confined to her bed. Feebly clinging to the apron strings of nostalgia, she literally refused to ail. Her hairline had receded and all she could show off was a bunch of stringy strands on her scalp. She was thinly and weak till she barely walked. She was exhausted, and to me, each day seemed her last.
Every morning I met her ashen face, shared somber moments after which I would softly sob into my hands in her backyard. She preferred to smile instead. She was conceding, her pain notwithstanding, and seemingly growing into an imminent crescendo. I saw her gradually waste away, and even in my sleep her frail voice reverberated in damning tintinnabulations.
It was one of my then not-so-frequent visits that she beckoned me to inch closer. Her voice was reduced to a whisper. She wanted me to call to her bedside, her daughter in Australia. Part of me went numb and for a brief moment silently stared into her weepy eyes. I knew at that moment she was not to live past her fiftieth birthday a fortnight away. I swallowed painfully and was hushed tones till I took to calling Stella.
On a cold night in July, my aunt went to be with the Lord. She died softly in her sleep. I chose not to cry that day. It was most befitting for the queen in pain. Her Bible beside her haggard corpse, she looked like one in her sleep. She was calm, happy in her new state. It struck me I was not to see her again, but I had lived her pain, I had seen the damsel in distress waste away.
Stella was most dispirited. She did not make it to share her mother’s last moments. My dad was dejected. They just didn’t come to terms with the loss. Aunt Phoebe had collapsed at the news.
Burial preparation was intense grief. We all knew how much we would miss Rebecca. She was instrumental, sensational, was our Rebecca.
On a sunny Saturday, my aunt was laid to rest. The requiem mass had been solemn but dignified. She was eulogized as she would have wished with speeches brief and concise. The epitaph was classy and ingenious, and the wreaths, beautiful as she herself had been in her lifetime. I remember it rained that evening.