Hello all friends
I’m terribly sorry to report that last night (Thursday October 18, 2018) at 6:53pm, my brother Steven Asher Fingerett passed away. He had made a difficult and courageous choice to undergo high risk spine surgery for his chronic and immobilizing degenerative bone disease, and though he made it through 8 hours of spine surgery, he suffered a massive stroke in the ICU recovery room.
With an iron clad DNR, he was taken to a hospice facility and I sat with him for what was to be his last 6 hours. I found myself measuring his breathing, listening to the rhythm. At some point, his breath and common end-stage rattles became almost words. Maybe it was selective hearing on my part, but I swear during his final hour or two, his exhales sounded like an old-cartoon-hip-cat-jazzman-musician from the Bayou, because when he’d exhale, I heard him go "oohh-YYYYeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!"
Over and over and over.
These “almost words” were low and slow, with an expressive attitude that made him sound incredulous and pleased. I closed my eyes, sat back in my chair and had a lovely private inside chuckle.
Then, for some reason, I was moved to go to the nurses station to grab some tea.
Of course, when I returned, he was gone.
I told the hospice nurse on duty, of my experience with his breathing, and how it had gone from common end-stage breathing, to this joyful exclamation in his exhale. She calmly told me that hospice patients, when close to their “finish line” often have reactions when they are approaching whatever that is that people approach, be it the bright warm light, or possibly in my brother's case, a barbecue rib joint with a really great guitar player jamming with a beautiful busty vocalist. Or possibly he was approaching heaven (said rib joint) and he came across his old Warner Brothers Records Minneapolis artist pal, Prince.
There will be no formal funeral or burial, but rather his donation to science and a celebration of his life at some later date. Hopefully, well host this in some rib joint with a beautiful busty vocalist who sings Prince songs.
It’s Friday now. I’m at the airport. I’m catching my breath from this business of death. All I know is my big brother Steve, my protector and friend, is no longer in debilitating and crippling pain. There’s a profound sadness in my heart. But I feel light, as I close my eyes and see my brother standing straight, pain free, as he sprints toward that place of his own choosing, joyfully shouting “oohhYYYYeeeeaaaahhhh!!”
Rest in peace now Stevie, you’ve earned it. Place your order for a full slab to share and don’t forget to... save me a seat. Your kid sister Sally
PS: I pray for all who find themselves needing a beautiful place to end their time on earth, and hope that you find a place like Our Lady of Peace, here in St. Paul, MN. Allison’s mother, Ricki, spent 4 months "transitioning" here back in 2011. Ever the dutiful daughter, Allie was present daily, caring for her ailing mother. That Thursday morning when we arrived at Our Lady Of Peace, there they were, the same staff, a team of familiar faces that had cared for Ricki back in 2011. These nurses, social workers, and personal care attendants grabbed, hugged, smushed, cried with, and devoured their treasured Allie. It was to be a homecoming, in more ways than I can describe. Allie is divinely protected, as Steve will do for her in his death, that which he wasn't able to do for her during his life. That's who he now is. Enjoy these photos below.