Margie Beth Mushkin

August 31, 1958 – May 20, 2020 RIP

My sister passed towards the end of last month. It wasn’t so unexpected. At the same time, like most death, there is something substantial about its essence that brings up a lot for us still living here. Margie had early-onset dementia and had had it for many years. The last 20 years of her life were complicated and marked by the hard work of trying to remember who she was and what she was doing. She would get right up in your face and laugh before you made your joke or laugh before the sentence that wasn’t a joke. So much energy, so much activation of the sympathetic nervous system trying to survive in the muck. A difficult 20 years.

And then COVID. Her small freedoms were gone; she seemed to have lost the will to work through that muck. She most likely contracted the disease in her assisted living home. She had the ground glass lungs. I visited her in the COVID ward of the hospital. Even so, when they tested her, she tested negative. The still kept her there. Was it just the will to live that was gone? Had she just finally let go after all that hard work. Hard to say. So many mistakes made in our DNA, in the way we treat others, in what we pass on.

She just slept that last three weeks. She woke twice when I was with her in hospice care. One time she was awake and aware enough for us to call my uncle, my brother, and my daughter. On each call, she listened and laughed at the appropriate times. I guess she was coming to a place of balance and comfort, sometimes called home.