“She” is my wife of sixty five years and she died in the first few minutes of February tenth of this year, about a month ago. Her name was Patricia Ann Johnson. She was eighty four years old when she died. She died of metastatic brain cancer stemming from her bout with with breast cancer in 2015. These are the dry, bare facts about her passing. There is much more to her story; much too much for a single blog, so I plan to tell her (our) story in installments. I’m doing this as a means to lessen the burden of my grief and cope with my feelings of loneliness. Please bear with me as I try to tell the story.
The irony of her story is is that she had just completed a series of scans and examinations related to the successful treatment her breast cancer; barely two months prior to her passing. These were negative for cancer and we (she and I) put the possibility of a hidden cancer out of of our minds. A short time later she started to have balance issues and we did not entertain the idea of any “real” problems other than we were getting old and old people have balance problems. We retrieved her walker from our storage shed, bought a fancy four wheel walker and replaced several throw rugs with the non-slip kind. We already had handrails. We became very careful in our movements. In spite of these measures, she fell several times and the paramedics were called to get her off the floor. She had some ugly bruises,but nothing was broken. Her last fall occurred in the evening hours of Friday, February third, and we called the paramedics to lift her off the floor. We declined to go to the emergency room and went to bed. The next morning, as she was attempting to get out of bed, she retched a slight amount so the paramedics were called and she was taken to the Long Beach Memorial Hospital emergency room and there she was subjected to X-ray and CT scans. These scans showed again she had no broken bones, but, the CT scan revealed the presence of a walnut-sized mass on her brain. A subsequent MRI scan Sunday confirmed the presence of the mass and that the mass had grown to such an extent that it was inoperable. She died as the next Thursday as Thursday changed to Friday.
The tumor was very aggressive and she declined very fast. We (I and the hospital staff) were very sensitive to her comfort needs as she was slipping away. She did not appear to have suffered from pain during her ordeal and I believe she was aware of the presence of her family at her bedside as she passed away. Her passing was as beautiful as it was painful to those who were present.