The following excerpt is adapted from something I’d written online in 2008, after Georgia had passed on from this life:
Georgia used to wryly tell me that I had an answer for everything; she saw it as an opportunity to always try to one-up me. As a result, our playful banter sometimes annoyed Kathi.
I’d teased Georgia a bit on her last birthday: she’d chided me for trying to ensure that she ate food instead of candy, and said “Are you trying to keep me around forever?” She asked me how old she was, and I told her. “Eighty four? That’s older than anyone else in my family. How long do you expect me to live?” I told her with a wink and a smile that I was shooting for another thirty five or forty years.
She told me she wouldn’t live to see her next birthday.
She’s probably chuckling wryly that she was right — she loved to prove me wrong. She was always trying to one-up me in zingers and sarcasm; Kathi says it gave Georgia a challenge, and helped forge the strong friendship that we’d developed during the course of her caretaking.
She won that one; It’s one of the few losses I truly regret.
Now, looking back at the caregiving years, and the brief time I knew her before then, I am grateful for having the opportunity to meet her & to be a part of her life. I’m also extremely thankful that Kathi & I have the memories of our time with her, which also have – chronicled within – some of our best memories of our whole little eclectic family, consisting of the three of us plus Missy, Ember & Jack.
I’d never been much to favor journaling. Before the caregiving journey began, I only haphazardly kept any form of journal. As a result of the caregiving process, however, I found myself writing more & more – it was an outlet as well as a form of transcription & external memory storage. I’m not entirely sure what the original motivation was, but I am very glad to have these memories chronicled.
I’m still marveling at the strange turn of events that brought us into contact with Jim, Martha & Martha Sr., and which resulted in the creation of Her Final Year. I consider that to be an invaluable treasure, helping not only to forever record that important episode of our lives and enabling us to share it with others, but also because it brings one other dream of Georgia’s to fruition: she’d always thought that Kathi would be an excellent writer, and had expressed the thought more than once that she should write a book.
Now, she has. Co-authored with friends & family, and from the heart.
Georgia has even more to smile about now. And that, too, is a very good feeling.