At home, my neighbor’s spouse is slowly dying. Eleanor and Milton, Milton is the dying one. Though I suppose that one of them is not really dying much more than the other. They live together in a small townhouse. It resembles my childhood home, which sits directly to the left of their’s. We are connected by dense walls and uphill driveways, have much to talk about among those two. When I was in elementary school, the couple would sometimes creep into my home. Eleanor would grant me a small stuffed animal. She likes kids! Milton would ask if any of the other seven year olds at school had taken a liking towards me. The toy was nice.
Through my bedroom wall must have been their bedroom wall too. They overlapped somewhere. It was like sharing a room. The two of them would stand in the corner of my room while I got dressed. A bit overbearing, but still comforting somehow. Sometimes they would scream at one another in front of me. It seemed like a good trade-off. I’d call my mom in to listen and watch. She would press a glass cup to the wall to try to hear through the muffles. She brought me one too. I didn’t really need it though. I could hear clearly without it. I wonder if they ever tried the same thing on us.
For over twenty years my mom has been having a long, strenuous conversation with the two of them. The dense walls and the uphill driveways conversation. When Milton and Eleanor speak, they bounce off one another. They are a single unit. When one of them appears in the corner of my room, the both of them do. Holding each other not so tightly but seemingly, and maybe hardly even as themselves. Entangled and handcuffed but not. They still love each other none-the-less. My mom insists that they have always been the way they are, and that it is sad to see Milton go.
Milton is under hospice, and it’s his last wish to die in the comfort of his home. A nurse comes, gives him morphine so that he can become addicted and numb. He is exempt from physical pain. Already dead but his body is still here in the house. He does not do much thinking anymore.
Yesterday, Milton went to sit down in his chair. He missed. This means that his physical body must be failing. Eleanor called an ambulance, and so they came and helped him to his chair. One of them was a mid-life, happy-go-lucky guy. He was slim and talked like a doofus. Would his buddy Milton would like to be taken over to an inpatient facility for care? They could insure that nothing was seriously wrong.
Hesitant to agree, Eleanor convinced him. She was seriously worried that something greater was wrong. And so they took him away with them. The doofus told him not to worry, that it would be okay and he would be home soon enough to die.
Milton is in the in-patient section of a hospice facility somewhere that I do not know where, and he does not either. Milton is under hospice and Eleanor called the junk people to take all of his belongings from the house. Ordered them to burn it all. Thousands of dollars it would cost her. They come to the house next to mine and do as told. Milton is floating in space with no matter to hold him here. Nothing to go back to, no clothes left to wear to work tomorrow.
My mom told me that Eleanor has not visited him at hospice. She left him there and never came back. I wonder if he feels abandoned. No entangled being to sit in the corner of his room and watch him change, and none in mine anymore either. My parents visited him though. They are much better people who would never leave each other to die in hospice. But is it much better really, if deep down that is exactly what they would like to do? To leave each other to the same emptiness as Milton carried to his end? Eleanor is just being honest.
It is sad to lie to the dead.
Milton is wrung dry and Eleanor is happy. It makes my mom upset, even disturbed. How sad it is, to watch a poor man die alone in some strange place that is not his home.