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  • Writer's picturePaul Depperschmidt

Farewell Dolly....

We knew the call would eventually come. Karen's Mom, Dolly, was 88 and health issues had really kicked in during the last year. We had just left a 2 week stay with her when we were notified she has been taken to the hospital emergency room. Some quick tests gave the doctor no choice but to try some risky surgery. She made it out of surgery but never woke up. She ran a great race and had 87 pretty good years. Everyone who met Dolly fell in love with her. She was a lot of fun and always ready for a party. She will be missed greatly.

Our original plan was for Karen to fly to Longview and have me follow with the circus. Single- handing the Black Pearl and trailer is possible, but a real handful. At the last minute Karen decided to just ride back as there was really not much she could do if she did fly there. Dolly passed away on Saturday evening and we made it back to Longview, TX Sunday night after two long days of driving from Indiana. We were able to get all of Dolly's things out of her apartment and arrange for a small service at the cemetery where she was laid to rest. All of it was a bit of a struggle in the age of Covid.

And to close this out, a comment on the situation of our elderly during this Covid crisis. Dolly's last few months consisted of sitting alone in her apartment with occasional visits from medical care-givers. The dining room was closed, so food would be cold when it was delivered to the room. There were no visits allowed by other than essential personnel. There was no meeting with friends or any type of activity other than reading (if they can) or watching TV. Luckily Karen was able to bend the rules to take Dolly out for a haircut and a Five Guys burger with fries just two weeks before she passed away. Had that not happened Karen would have been crippled with guilt for years to come.

We overheard multiple conversations of the elderly who lamented that their last days on earth would be separated from family and loved ones. They would be sequestered from even a minimal amount of socialization. While not all would agree, many of them are ready to take a chance and see their families, grandchildren and friends.

Currently their is no end in sight for their current situation. We could tell that many of them were deteriorating from the isolation. At their age they should be provided the choice on how their last time on earth should be spent. What we saw was not living, it was simply existing. These are the primary people all of our Covid efforts with isolation, masks and social distancing are designed to "save". Life is a gamble. And no one gets out alive. Our elderly know this better than most. We need to let them live their remaining life on their terms.

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