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The Last Christmas Gift

After a life fully lived with its mountains and valleys, dignity is the greatest gift of all.

She awoke ecstatic to see us after rushing to the hospital from our Christmas cruise. The e-mails were candid, ‘Mom in hospital. Home can’t deal with outbursts and rudeness!’

This was inevitable after three strokes and a heart attack. Facilities for Alzheimer patients? Good luck! Mortal health and emotional complications, copious drugs, delusional dreams, faltering hope. Widowed at forty, six children and no job; she was resolute. Family dismantled, suicide for one, alcohol another, and a breakdown for her; she persevered.

She heard her husband calling. Her last request was for dignity. All was removed.

She smiled, then let go.

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