Friday, January 27, 2012

Granny holds on

Margaret Helt
with son John, daughter MaryAnn, and the late Clifford Helt,
Burlington IA farmer
who himself took 10 days without food and water
before he passed

A pickup with its battery on ground
seen at the Dousman WI Firkus farm sold by me as a realtor, once

John's mother Margaret takes a motorcycle ride in 2008 with a friend

Margaret does a stint at a local food pantry


Margaret Helt today lies dieing hard
in a Burlington health facility
with her family at her side,
if she goes......

This report from John this morning:

Dear Friends
I wish I could report that Mom crossed over in the night, but....
Yesterday morning she rallied a bit: puckering her lips for a kiss, opening one eye a bit, and moving her jaw as we sang hymns and prayed. I thought that might be the final push to get to the other side of that apparently deep and wide river. But it wasn't.
Cindy's father lasted 10 days after food and drink, so we know this could potentially go another two days. Every day is another notch lower, but she has not yet hit bottom.
Everything is set and we are just waiting. We have said and sung and prayed everything we know.
If her death does not occur by 3 this afternoon, we call Anni in Boston and tell her not to get on the plane, and her brothers not to rush here tomorrow, and we move our plans into the future.
The one good thing is that Mom is not suffering.
As I reassured son Aaron last night, it is OK to pray for death at this point.

(John will eventually do his mother's funeral.)


From The Writers Almanac, Garrison Keillor
 Jan. 27, 2012

Don't Look Back

This is not
a problem
for the neckless.
Fish cannot
swivel their heads
to check
on their fry;
no one expects
this. They are
torpedoes of
compact capsules
that rely
on the odds
for survival,
unfollowed by
the exact and modest
number or goslings
the S-necked
goose is—
who if she
looks back
acknowledges losses
and if she does not
also loses.

"Don't Look Back" by Kay Ryan, from Say Uncle. © Grove Press, 2000.