Monday, February 21, 2005

Miss Odessa

On February 2nd, I lost my mother-in-law Odessa, a truly special lady. She was 80 years and 88 days old, born November 6, 1924.

Miss Odessa went to the doctor on Thursday, January 27, because she wasn't feeling well. Her lungs were at 30% capacity, due to complications from emphysema. The doctor prescribed some prednisone to help with this problem, and she was feeling better on Tuesday night. She went into work Tuesday for a few hours, but that was her. Her philsophy of life was to go to work even if you didn't feel like working. Then whatever you couldn't do, get someone else to help you do it. (I've always been that way too. That's probably why we got along so well.) She seemed very tired, so her children told her to go home and take the day off on Wednesday to get some rest. Around 4:30pm, I received an email from her. She was trying to find a copy of an email she had deleted. It was about silk necklaces for sale. Her sisters were going to try to make some, and she needed to give them a copy of the email. My sister-in-law Jeannie was over at her house that night and rolled her hair. She was going to take it down on Wednesday morning when she woke up.

From talking to various people, this is what I can piece together about her last morning on earth: She never put her teeth in that day, so she was trying to sleep late. The last person who called her was her sister Warlene, around 9:30. Her sister Barbara tried calling around 2, but did not get an answer. So, the estimated time of death was 9:30am-2:00pm. She had a gash on the top of her forehead and on her right shin, so she took a tumble shortly before she died, probably shortly after getting off of the phone with Warlene. There was no bleeding even though the gashes were deep, indicating to me that she must have died shortly after the fall. She must have decided to go back to bed and rest after falling, and her curlers were still in her hair.

From the caller id in the house, I noticed that Barbara tried calling around 5. Around 5:15, my brother-in-law Ronnie called from work to check on her. He didn't get an answer, so he called his uncle Romaine who lived near Miss Odessa. Romaine did not get an answer a few minutes later, so he drove over to the house. He beat on the front door and her bedroom windows, but did not get a response. He broke in her front door and found her in the bed with the bedroom door closed. She looked very peaceful, like she just drifted off to the next world. She went her own way, no hospital drama for her.

He began calling relatives. By the time Marvin and I got there, the house was full of people in various stages of grief and disbelief. I went in and paid my respects at her bedside. Then Marvin and I got to checking around. No one had called an ambulance or the sheriff to report her demise. I was then given the duty of making calls to various authorities. I first of all called the ambulance service. I was asked if she had a DNR (do no resuscitate) on file. I said, "Ma'am, it's not a matter of DNR, she's dead." The ambulance guys knew where she lived, so they were on the way. Next I called the sheriff's department to report us finding her deceased. There was no evidence of foul play, but we wanted to cover all bases, "just in case". I also called our preacher, who was returning from a trip from Brownsville, TX.

I've done a little math regarding Miss Odessa's lifespan. I counted all leap years accurately and this is my conclusion: She lived 29,308 days or 42,203,520 minutes. If her heart beat an average of 80 beats per minute, then it beat a total of 3,376,281,600 beats during her lifetime. That's the best anyone could ever ask for.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?