- Laughing as the Curtain Falls
- By NICK KOZAK
- The 63rd Missouri Photo Workshop / Clinton, Mo.
*Nick has completed a follow-up story, please click the link on the last slide to view it.*
September 8th, 2011 Irene Powell, an intelligent, quick witted, thoughtful person, celebrated her 99th birthday. Born in Rosedale, Kansas and reared in Kansas City, Missouri, Irene grew to love learning; she attended junior college and nurses’ training at St. Luke’s. Irene gathered more experiences with post graduate studies at St. Elizabeth’s in Maryland and back at St. Luke’s as Assistant Superintendent of Nurses. Once married, she and Ross Jacob Powell worked to build his medical practice living in several small towns before landing in Clinton in 1942. Here he made a reputation with his house calls and deliveries and together they reared their three sons.
Until late summer 2011 Irene enjoyed an independent lifestyle despite the growing limitations of physical weakness, hearing loss and near blindness. In mid July she spent 6 weeks in the hospital. Released home under Hospice’s care on August 23rd, Irene, no longer able to transfer in and out of bed and needing assistance with personal care, now required 24 hour support.
Irene’s granddaughter devin powell moved in last November “just for fun.” Since Irene’s return home devin has been part of a team of caregivers who aim to provide patience, respect and dignity along with practical day-to-day necessities. Care given to Irene is often met with equal engagement and mutual consideration.
Spend time with Irene and witness her razor sharp mind, genuine interest in others and storehouse of anecdotes and jokes. She emits a contagious joy and exuberance towards life. devin spends much of her days with Irene, working on projects, rereading past writings and recalling memories, both often exploding in laughter Their latest project has been the composition of Irene’s 2010/2011 Christmas letter, a task which included several hand deliveries around town.
Irene’s body is extremely frail and she is in near constant discomfort. She says that her situation is fortunate thanks to friends and family but she has decided she’s ready to move on. She says “I used to be uneasy about death and now I see it as a final gift.”
Please note that subject devin powell has requested that her name be written in lower case letters.
Ninety-nine year-old Irene Powell, with oxygen tubing, lies in bed laughing with her 26 year-old grandaughter devin powell at her side in their home in Clinton, Missouri.
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