My great aunt was an incredibly independent woman. She traveled all over the world, and one of the rings she got in Italy from a merchant (who supposedly fancied her) she gave to my fiancee. My aunt never married (probably why she lived so long lol), and was extremely active well into her mid 90s (swam, bowled, etc.) until she broke her hip. She got physically frailer, needing canes and walkers, but was still able to live on her own up until a few months ago.
Occasionally, she would go to the hospital and things would get scary, but then within a week she would come out just fine (as fine as a century-old woman could possibly be). My two younger brothers and I would joke that she was pretty much an immortal. She'd lose some of her shields every once in a while, but then she'd recover back to full health within a short time.
The most amazing part about the end of her life was that she hadn't lost her mental agility or sharp wit at all. She still knew who everyone was, could carry on conversations with us, and still play Skip-Bo (her favorite card game) with us whenever she wanted. She lost most of her hearing over the past few months, but she only seriously deteriorated over the past few weeks. She had needed blood transfusions every week for the past few months, and then finally she said that enough was enough. She was tired of the needles and the medicines and the trips to the hospital, and she said she was ready to die. She said no more transfusions, asked to be put on a DNR (Do Not Rescuscitate, do not be put on life support, let her die when her body is ready to go), and then she waited out the rest of her life at our house. She had always loved to read (she and I would frequently exchange books and authors), and that was something she could continue to do until she really got bad during her last few days.
When I think about all the national, international, and personal events a 101 year old woman experiences in her lifetime, I'm just absolutely stunned. So many wars, so many inventions, so many breakthroughs. And she was always warm and loving. She used to live with her sister (my grandmother) and her sister's husband (my grandfather), and she helped raise my mother, my aunt, and my uncle. I was going to say that she was the best thing since sliced bread, but I did a little research and it turns out that sliced bread wasn't sold until 1928, which is actually younger than my great aunt.
+ Show Spoiler +
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been pre-sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular phrase, "the greatest thing since sliced bread". ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliced_bread
I hope she went in her sleep; I hope she didn't suffer. She lived a long, healthy, wonderful life, and got to choose when to finish it. I hope I get a little of that genetic luck and live a long and happy life as well.
101 beers for you, Aunt Mae <3
Her 99th birthday (balloon), back when she was a young fox.
She was four times my age last year.
One of the times she had to go to the hospital. She was just fine within a few days.
This was basically her Last Supper. It was the last time we were able to bring her out, given her mobility and health issues over the last few weeks.
It was her favorite restaurant. The woman loved her Charlie Brown's.
My favorite photo with her. I'm going to let you make up your own caption to this lol.