Yesterday, after having awakened from a troubled sleep, wrought with nightmares, I received a phone call from my Dad. He said that he, my grandma, and the rest of that side of the family were at Queen's Hospital, in room 541 of Queen Emma Tower, to say goodbye to my Great Aunt Nobuko before she passed away.
I immediately walked across the street to the hospital to join my family. Aunty Nobu, youngest sibling of seven, was originally admitted to a different hospital for pneumonia. They discharged her that day, but she was readmitted, this time into Queen's Hospital, as her condition had worsened.
By the time that I'd arrived, Aunty's vitals were already headed downhill. She was on a respirator, had lost conciousness, and despite being on two IVs, the doctors and nurses had already cut off the drip. Everyone had already been there for several hours; I was only there for two.
It was heartbreaking watching her two daughters and their husbands, HER husband, and their dog, gathered around her, hugging her and talking to her... watching her husband, Harold, generally a rather stoic Japanese fellow, kissing her and whispering in her ear... crying.
I was there when the doctor came in and asked the family's permission to give Aunty an extra dose of morphine, to lessen her pain. Asked if the family would approve of not giving any resuscitative measures should she take her last breath (CPR or defibrillator), as it would only bring her more pain and wouldn't bring her back.
I didn't catch the exact time she flatlined as they turned off the in-room monitor when the time neared, so the family wouldn't watch the monitor. But I was there when she took her final breath.
I watched the entire family (except for one person) cry. My grandmother, shaking silently as she watched her youngest sister die before her. This is the second sibling she's lost this year. They were both younger than her.
Now, there's just my grandmother and my Aunty Pat left of the seven. And my grandmother doesn't want to be the last of them.
Anyway, Mrs. Nobuko Minami (maiden name: Ishimoto) passed away the afternoon of Sunday, September 16, 2007, in the Queen Emma Tower, room 541, of Queen's Hospital. She is survived by her husband, Harold, her two daughters, Susan and Sandra, and her two sisters, Patricia and Jeanne. She also has many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.