It was five years ago today, that Paula Baskin was taken to Mercy Hospital by ambulance.
Brenda Mayes sat with Paula most of the day, because Paula wasn’t feeling well. Brenda called Terrie when Paula wasn’t able to stand. Terrie arrived and together they decided to call 911.
In the emergency room, the doctor told me she was going through renal failure. They admitted her and that began a four-month time of caring for her. I’m thankful for those four months, because during those months, we learned to love one another on another level.
In the beginning of my relationship with Terrie, Paula and I did not get along well. As an eighteen year old guy, I didn’t understand her gruff personality or when she said “I hate you!!” that she didn’t really mean it.
After Terrie and I were married, things began to improve. Paula could be generous. She liked buying gifts for Terrie and Terrie loved receiving gifts from her. For Christmas and for my birthday, she would buy me some nice shirts or cologne and even the watch that I wear every day.
After her parents died, Paula had a hard time living alone. She enjoyed working and spent most of her career in accounting or money related professions. But when she went home, it was difficult for her to be alone. She enjoyed her friends from church and she really enjoyed working in the concession for Upward Basketball. But then, she lost her job. It became even more difficult for her to be alone.
I think something happen when she was in the hospital. Something in her mind or in her spirit seemed to give up. She refused to work with the physical therapist and as a result bed sores began to form on her. She was moved to care facilities to help her, but she wouldn’t cooperate with them either. I took on an increasing responsibility for her care and for her financial dealings as well. I was amazed at her preciseness of balancing her check book. I was learning what was important to her. She seemed to appreciate when Terrie and I would visit, but she wasn’t always agreeable.
In September, she was moved to her home with 24 hour care. It seemed I spent half of my day with her, her care giver, and her physical therapist, who would make visits to the home to help her, but most of the time she would refuse to cooperate.
Sometime in October, I found out that I had oral cancer again and would have to have surgery. Paula was troubled by that and didn’t understand why I would have to go through cancer a second time. We had finally got to a place of loving one another as a brother and sister. I would push to not give up, but she knew why I was pushing. I was trying to keep her alive because Terrie and I loved her and cared for her.
In November, I was on a CT scan table getting ready for my upcoming surgery when my Pastor called and said that Paula had died. She was no longer insecure, no longer lonely, and no longer troubled. She was with Jesus.
Terrie and I miss Paul, Pat, and Paula. They were our family.