Mortality is a complicated thing because it embodies extraordinary force with extreme fragility. Remembering that we are all souls who are here to embrace the human experience can very easily be lost in moments of extreme grief. Bette Davis’s journey began the day before Thanksgiving, and ended six days ago. It is only now that I have been able to bring myself to the keyboard to tell you about her final curtain call.
She was completely aware of her limited time on the planet that had so often pissed her off. When we arrived to the Hospice wing she was overwhelmed by the intensity of her surroundings. As her caregiver it is my responsibility to lessen her fears in every way possible. The problem with dealing with someone like Bette Davis is that their mental faculties are keenly sharp. Her own intuition was even more in tact.
She grabbed my hand in desperation, and said “I’m going to fight this. I’m not going!” It was in this exact moment I felt the crack within my heart. This was not the moment for self-pity. Her large intense” Bette Davis Eyes”were pleading for any kind of relief to lessen her overwhelming fear. So I smiled at her and said ” Good I thought you were going to fuck up Christmas!” She busted out laughing.
I set up her room to look as much like her room at home. Then I told her to quit hogging the bed as I nudged my way into the bed beside her. The tough old gal was amused by my lack of concern over what the staff might think. She instinctively knew that her body was not as strong as her will, but she also understood that we would do this our way.
So we listened to her beloved Celtic music, we gossiped about everything under the sun, and I soaked up the warmth of her courageous desire to protect her children from seeing her fear. She was a “Momma Bear” until her last moment. With me she was able to be herself. It was as much a gift to me as she had expressed it had been to her.I had the privilege of guiding her family to helping Mom end her journey surrounded by light-hearted humor bathed in love.
I spent Bette Davis’s last day ensuring her physical comfort, and maintaining her appearance. I had to leave briefly to take “The King” to speech, so I leaned down whispering into her ear that the little King was beckoning. Her” Bette Davis Eyes” had not opened for days, nor had she spoken. I told her how much I loved her. I told her everything was going to be okay, and that I would be back soon.
In that moment I understood that she would not be there when I would return, so I reminded her that I would be waiting for my sign so make it spectacular. I kissed her warm cheek, and told her “I would see her on the other side. Bette Davis made her final curtain call while I was away. She left the stage the same way she lived her life, with dignity surrounded by the love of her family.