She boiled the water for her aunt’s tea and got a small porcelain cup from the pantry. It was one Kelley had brought back to her aunt after a trip to California with her parents. It had a picture of a beach and the words “Welcome to Paradise” written on it. She decided this was just the cup her aunt needed to see. The kettle whistled and Kelley poured the water.
She took the tea to her aunt. When Kelley opened the door, she noticed her aunt’s eyes were closed. Before she panicked, she looked at her aunt’s chest. It was softly rising and falling, rising and falling. Kelley smiled. She placed the tea on the bedside table and leaned down to her aunt. She kissed her forehead and said, “I hope you and Mr. Eastwood have a nice walk.”
She sat down in the armchair next to the bed and closed her eyes. Soon, she was asleep.
Kelley woke with a start. How long had she been asleep? She looked around the room. No light was peering in through the drapes. The cup of once hot tea was now ice cold. She noticed one of her aunt’s blankets had fallen off of her. She reached over to pull it over Helen and grazed her aunt’s hand. It was cold.
Kelley started to grow anxious. She looked at her aunt’s chest. It was no longer rising and falling.
“Aunt Helee!” she cried. “Aunt Helee!”
Her aunt did not stir.
“Auntie, please!” she said, shaking her aunt softly.
Still, her aunt was non-responsive.
“No, Helee!” Kelley wailed. “I’m not ready for this yet!”
When the medics came to take Aunt Helee, they told Kelley that her aunt passed away in her sleep.
“She didn’t suffer,” one of the medics said, patting Kelley on the shoulder before leaving.
Didn’t suffer? Didn’t suffer?! Kelley could not believe her ears. Of course she suffered! She had watched for months while her aunt’s health was stripped away by an evil, uncaring disease! She watched as her aunt could no longer feed herself, wash herself, became incontinent, and would sometimes forget who she was. And this person had to gall to say her aunt didn’t suffer.
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