Gwennie rocked back and forth, the chair creaking in its familiar way. It was so lovely to sit near the front window, the sun unencumbered by the sheers. She’s glad she’d asked Olga to remove them. Olga was her new caregiver and she was a blessing.
Her heart was racing as she watched her Penelope play with an imaginary mouse, most likely. She put her hand to her chest. It was nothing to worry about. It’d done that sometimes in the past. Penelope was probably as old as Gwennie was in cat years. Like Gwennie, she obviously still had some life in her yet. She smiled at the thought. Goodness, last time she thought about it, she reckoned she was around 98. One loses track. It’s like that when you reach a certain age. The numbers cease to matter.
She shimmied forward on her chair, thinking she’d go get a cup of tea. That would be nice. Gwennie’d already had something to eat for supper and so, all she really wanted now was something small. Maybe she’d have one of the biscuits Isabelle had brought.
Getting up Gwennie felt another sharp pain in her chest. That one concerned her. She got up with a little effort ….
Her head tilted back as she swung high. Back down again and her sister pushed her again, laughing.
“One more time, Gwennie and then it’s my turn, okay,” Gwennie’s sister said, squealing with delight as she pushed her again.
“Push one more time, Ida! One more time,” Gwennie said, yelling at the top of her lungs, giggling all the time. Ida pushed her one more time and then they both let the swing slow down so Gwennie could jump off. They switched and Gwennie used all her might to pull the swing back as much as possible and then with a laugh she pushed Ida. They did that for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a beautiful Sunday and so they were given a little extra time to play. But they still had chores to do. So, Gwennie spent part of her day helping her mother with the sewing and knitting. Her mother was mending her father’s trousers and Gwennie was darning her brother’s smellie socks—at least that’s what she always thought. Ida was in the kitchen and her brothers were with their dad in the woods checking on the snares.
“Yeah, thanks,” Izzie said, as she took the forms from Ryan. They’d already wrapped up her body and placed it on the stretcher. It was a small town and so, they both knew Gwennie.
“It was her heart,” Ryan said.
“Geez. Why worry? I think she was closing in on a hundred. When ya get to that age, you’ve lived your life to the full, is what I think. So, it’s okay to say good-bye,” Izzie said, as they rolled the stretcher out to the ambulance.
“Well she had a good run, that’s for sure,” Ryan said as she slammed the door closed.
Clambering into the ambulance, Izzie’s mind was on Gwennie. “Yeah. But you know what I always wonder. I think about when they’re unconscious and already pretty much gone, in their minds, do they go anywhere?”
“Don’t know. I think they’re just gone.”
“Y’know. I think they go back to a time in their lives when they were happy, truly happy — not a care in the world. I bet many go back to their first home,” Izzie said.
“Ah well, we all know you’re a dreamer,” Ryan said, smiling at Izzie. Checking behind him, he drove off.