E.’s Cycle of Life

My elderly acquaintance E. recently died in hospital – a few months short of her 92nd birthday.  She managed her old age well and was independent almost up to the end, when she had a fall and broke her hip bone.   Tests revealed she also had a brain tumor.   E. passed away after a few weeks in hospital.

E. was alert and upbeat when I visited her in hospital.  During a chat, we discovered she had lived in her childhood on the same block as my great-aunt Pearl and her husband in the 1920’s.   Just off Commercial Drive on Grant Street.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember Pearl’s married name so was unable to jog E.’s memory.   Still, she must have often seen my relatives, and maybe even my father, visiting as a small boy.  E. likely even went into my great-grandfather’s small store on Commercial Drive.

Pearl died of a stroke in her 40’s so E. would have seen my great-aunt near the end of her life – and now I have seen E. at the end of her life.   It’s a nice circle of life.   She was a neat lady and a wise elder.

E. had a literary bent, so here are some words by Walt Whitman to mark her passing.  Whitman saw much death and suffering as a nurse in a military hospital during the American Civil war, yet he takes an appealingly confident view in these lines from his poem “Song of Myself (Verse 6)”. 

“All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses/And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.”

Rest in peace, E.

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