The Final Round

Mrs. G's aunt died this morning.

The prognosis was never good. Mrs. G's aunt had a massive stroke followed by a heart attack. She could communicate on Sunday. She knew the answers to all the questions, her voice raspy, slurry but understandable. She repeatedly insisted she was in no pain. She knew who was around her and who was talking to her on the speakerphone…which seemed like most of the state of Tennessee.  Have you heard those stories about people who give their lives to a company for thirty years because the company treats them like family to the end?  Mrs. G’s aunt lived that. One phone to one co-worker was all it took keep the phone lines buzzing and the emails rolling in.

But, again, the prognosis was never good. The left side of her body was paralyzed, the heart this, the diabetes that...all bad news.

Mrs. G. had a dash of hope on Monday. Her aunt was finally given the OK to eat pudding and ice chips, but she couldn't drink water because only the muscles on the right side of her throat were functioning and her doctors feared she might aspirate fluid into her lungs. Mrs. G. fed her aunt ice chips until the cows came home but her aunt made it clear that there was only one thing she wanted and that was to drink some water and, furthermore, she thought the doctors' orders were a load of bull and if everyone was so crazy about the pudding, everyone else could eat it. Mrs. G's aunt had some attitude and that felt good.

Later on in the evening, Mrs. G's aunt seemed to be sleeping and Mrs. G. was sitting in a chair beside her. The lights were out. The vibe was chill when out of the blue, Mrs. G's Aunt bellows:

"I believe it is a violation of the Geneva Convention to deny someone a glass of water!"

For real. Massive right brain blow out, heart attack and the Geneva Convention enters the mix.

That’s more like it!

Game on. 

The night nurse looked at Mrs. G. in shock.

Mrs. G. explained to him that he was caring for the woman who, in the right place and time, could have kicked Ken Jennings, the longest winning contestant and yawn, yawn, yawn of the game show Jeopardy to the curb. She would have cleaned his clock.  In fact, Mrs. G. made the nurse say out loud that he was caring for the Jeopardy champion of THE WORLD despite the fact that it was not technically, what’s the word, reality. Word got out and one of the IV nurses said how honored she was to be putting in the IV of a champion. Mrs. G. just thanked her and let her believe. That’s right, Mrs. G. played her.  Or maybe the IV nurse played Mrs. G. When you’ve chosen to actively, consciously revise reality, does it really matter?

You do not ever miss an episode of Jeopardy even when you are on vacation in another state and challenged by time zones to not pull the standards and protocols involving international law for humanitarian treatment of victims of war out of your mental arsenal at the eleventh hour to jump up and down like a dumb ass while trying to guess the price of a can of creamed corn. Jeopardy, in Mrs. G’s aunt’s mind was far superior to the Price is Right (one was the New York City Public Library and the other was a televised version of the literature section of the Dollar Store), and, not to be unkind woman embarrassing yourself and every grocery aisle in the United States on national television, but a can of creamed corn hasn't cost eleven cents since 1944. Now get a hold of yourself and maybe start spending some time with the weekly grocery store circular ad. It’s free which, in math terms, is one less cent than one cent. Mrs. G’s aunt was a game show snob and she wouldn’t have even wasted her time listening to you go on about Who Wants to be a Millionaire or The Wheel of Fortune.

No no, pulling out the Geneva Convention card, friends, is how you kick it to straight to Final Jeopardy where you are not allowed to dance around but must stand still and draw on a lifetime of intellectual strength training and holiday after holiday not pretending to let the children win at Trivial Pursuit even if they cry. The children will grow stronger or they will grow up to spend their lives wandering through Safeway unable to come up with the correct change for a box of Tide because maybe it costs eighteen cents or maybe it costs three thousand dollars. Life involves tough choices and choosing to reference the cornerstone of contemporary international humanitarian law to your niece from your hospital bed in the neurological intensive care unit is an uncontestable straight shot to the final round. Mrs. G’s aunt is standing there, composed. There is no flailing of any kind tolerated on the set. The camera zooms in for a close up and the audience holds its breath as Mrs. G’s aunt casually informs host Alex Trebek with a southern woman's fast on the draw, appropriate level of fake modesty that, yes, as a matter of fact, she is willing to risk it all.

Mrs. G. brings ice chips and pudding and her aunt brings the Geneva Convention.

Well played, beloved hussy

You will be missed.

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Reader Comments (132)

I'm so sorry for the loss of such a wonderful woman.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrudeek

I'm so sorry.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlesia

I am so sorry, Heather. What an amazing woman that the world will miss.
Sending hugs and peace.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSellabitMum

I am so very sorry. I am glad that you had each other in your lives.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterknittergran

I am so sorry for your loss.

Answer: Jeopardy Champion of the Universe. Question? Who is Mrs. G's beloved aunt?

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

Words are inadequate at times like these. Know that my heart goes out to you and you are in my prayers.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHey Nana

Very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Well played, indeed. xo to you Mrs. G.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarms37

She sounds like an adorable pistol. I'm so sorry Mrs. G. You're writing well through your grief.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

I'm so sorry to hear this. Your Aunt sounds like such a unique and wonderful woman. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjean

Death sucks.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

I'm soo sorry for your loss, and the loss of such a sassy wonderful woman. Well played, Mrs. G's Aunt, well played.

My thoughts are with you...

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

Oh Mrs. G, I am sorry. Your Aunt was SUCH a character and it's been great having her as part of our extended family through your posts. She will be missed, indeed.
My heart goes out to you!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimmer

What a beautifully written post, and a testament to what kickass broad she was. I am so sad for you and your family. Be at peace.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentera

How wonderful that she was herself to the end. I am so sorry for your great loss.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrightside-Susan

I wish her all true Daily Doubles wherever she may be.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKizz

I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Hugs and love to you and your family.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelly in SoCal

So sorry for your loss.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersteph

She's felt like family for a long time now, and lately has been feeling more like a twin---the Jeopardy elitism took it right into conjoined territory, and OH, how you told the story!!

How wonderful to have such a take-no-prisoners, interesting person as a relative---it's so refreshing that you've shared her fun and foibles so willingly, when it's so common that a passing on seems to beatify the departed into a pink cloud of sweetnes and light that even they would not recognize. I love the REAL of her and I'd be SO proud to number someone like her amongst my own odd and dotty and heroic and kind and smart and downright amazing aunts and Mammaws.
I'd LOVE to be remembered like that.

I'll remember her for a long time, and I SO hope that you'll read this piece as her Eulogy. NOBODY could have a better one, and she'd have loved it.

Let's make it a TRUE Daily Double, Alex.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterracheld

You are in my thoughts, Mrs. G.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it is beautiful that you chose to honor her passing with a post that celebrates her feisty personality.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Kicking ass to the end. What a woman!

I am so sorry for your loss, Heather. What a wonderful sendoff you have given her here. Thank you for sharing her with us.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter*m*

My hat's off to you Mrs G's aunt.
Go in peace dear lady.
You will be missed by all.

So sorry for your loss.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I am so sorry for your loss. I will miss her too.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah in Va


I'm sure your aunt is now kicking Jeopardy ass somewhere in the Universe.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzenmomma

Oh, the memories she must have made for you! What a touching eulogy for a very special lady. My condolences to you and your family as you prepare to celebrate her life and legacy.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarty

I am truly sorry for your loss. Game well played, both of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I'm sending good juju your way. Peace to you, Mrs. G.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl

I am so sorry. I'm glad she stayed herself till the end.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSmalltown Mom

Mrs. G. thank you so much for sharing her with us. I don't know what to say because 'I'm sorry' doesn't quite cut it. Most of all I'm happy that you had her in your life, that you're left with her wonderful memories. I hope the sorrow leaves you soon and that its place is taken by the joy of what this woman implicitly taught you.
Big hugs.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaro

I'm glad you shared her with us...she sounded so much like my Mom. My thoughts are with you!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Mrs. G, I've been away and have come back to burst into tears for you. I've loved all the posts about your aunt and am enormously grateful that you shared her with us. My deepest condolences.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercardinal

Heather, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your aunt sounds like she was an absolutely awesome person.

I am so amazed by what you have written here. It is the best eulogy I have ever read, bar none. I heartily second RachelD. Let us know if you share this at the services. It's such an incredible tribute to your incredible aunt. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Much love to you and your family.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraphrodite

Vale Mrs G's Aunt. Travel well and peacefully through Final Jeopardy.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrash

Sounds like the kind of aunt that will leave a big hole in your life by her going. Thanks for this wonderful tribute. Sending good thoughts your way.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this wonderful firecracker of a woman with us. Sending thoughts of peace and healing your way.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

The world has lost a true champion. Sending peace.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

That's what I wish: to go out blazing, damn the torpedos! Love and condolences to you and the family.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL


December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa L.

I so loved Kizz's comment. Hugs to you Heather. I'm glad you had such a woman in your life, I know you will miss her dearly!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisse

So very sorry, and so glad she finished with flying colors. What a woman, what a tribute, what a beautiful thing to share with all of us! World Champion indeed. Please do share that at her service?

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

So sorry for your loss. Your aunt is , no doubt, somewhere having a rum and coke and watching over you between Jeopardy rounds.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMs. PJ Geek

Godspeed Mrs. G's vibrant* aunt, and peace to Mrs. G and all who love the Jeopardy Champion of the world.

* "vibrating; resonant; vigorous, energetic; lively, stimulating"

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim

So sorry to hear, and glad that she stayed herself to the end.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVivianne

Sorry Mrs. G. Thanks for bringing Mrs. G's Aunt into our lives. We don't get to meet people like her everyday. I'm sure there's a good game of Scrabble going on in heaven tonight. Triple letter, triple word score! God Bless them!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

I'm so sorry. I really appreciate the way you've brought your Aunt into our lives.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I'm sorry to hear this. May she rest in peace.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb J

I'm sorry for your loss - I read your stories about her over the past year or so and she sounds like someone who was worth knowing.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersuepw

So sorry for your family's loss, Heather. I think those nurses were wonderful to play along.

She went out right. Final Jeopardy indeed.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Snow

Oh crap. Heather, what a way to end the year. At least it was fast. At least she had dignity and humor and hosanna, a hell of a funny exit line. Whore on, sister!

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrebekah

I'm so sorry.

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenC

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