Going out on a limb… part 6.

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This will be the last  I never knew River was such a loon unexplained experienced post. Strange things happen, and sometimes you have to blog about them. Which is what I did after my mother passed…. and now again because  Swinged Cat  asked me.

Weird event #6.

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Wow.

Added: Wednesday, July 9th 2014 at 8:54am by rivergirl

I have one more amazing experience to share with you, and for me…this was the most meaningful.

As I’ve said before, the people who work and volunteer at hospices are angels in my eyes. A more compassionate, caring set of individuals you’ll never meet. They were there for me at the worst time of my life…. even when I didn’t think I needed them. They walked me through the process of death and held my hand. Literally and figuratively. They offered a shoulder to cry on and a hug when words weren’t nearly enough. They shared their stories of helping others through difficult times and it ended up helping me.

One woman told me of a patient who had terminal prostate cancer. He was given 3 months to live and was surrounded by his large, loving, Italian family at all times. They came in rotating shifts, cooked meals, read books and played cards. One afternoon while his favorite grand daughter was visiting he told her he was a little tired and wanted to take a nap. She said, “Okay Gramps. But we’ll be right outside when you need us because we’re not leaving you for a minute.” 10 minutes later, forgetting her purse in his room, she snuck back in quietly and found that he was gone.

He needed to spare them the pain of his passing and chose his time.

Make of that what you will.

When you’re sitting in the hospice rooms… there are books, pamphlets and literature on dying scattered everywhere. They’re meant to be helpful, but for days I couldn’t bring myself to read them. Denial is a wonderful thing.

But as time wore on and things got progressively worse, I picked one up.

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It was written by a nurse who has witnessed numerous deaths in her career. And as hard as it was to read…it was also strangely fascinating. Because I learned that it’s a very defined process, death. No matter what your disease or illness….you will die in clearly recognizable steps.

Reading about the months prior to death I realized my mother had been showing the signs. She’d given up reading, which she loved. She’d given up the New York Times crossword puzzle, which she whipped thru in pen. Her appetite had gone from small to non existent. Her sleeping patterns had changed. These are all part of the process….the pulling away from life.

So I sat, I waited, I cried.

And then it happened. It was an afternoon when a social worker had come to talk with me. At this point my mother had been completely out of it for almost a week. You couldn’t wake her and she didn’t speak.

The social worker had gotten up and walked around the room, looking at all the photos I’d brought. We stood on opposite sides of my mother’s bed and spoke of my father and the strange experiences I related here earlier. I had tears rolling down my face when I told her I knew my dad was waiting for my mom. We turned, made our way to the door…. and then? My mother woke up.

Her eyes were as clear as day… and she found me across the room. I rushed to her side, leaned over her bed and held her hand. I told her I loved her. She looked like she was trying to say something…. but couldn’t. Her breathing became labored.  I leaned closer, kissed her and told it her was okay. That it was her time…and that I would be alright. I told her she would be with dad again soon.

I told her he’d been waiting for her a long time and it was okay to go. I told her he was right there with us.

And then the strangest thing happened. She turned her head, reached out an arm and looked right past me….in every sense of the word. Her eyes went completely glassy. Like a curtain had been drawn. Her breathing calmed, she smiled…and I knew. She’d found him.

She closed her eyes and went back to sleep, but I knew the best part of her was already gone. I’m sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears splashing the keyboard, but I tell you at that moment….I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace.

And grace.

I kept a bedside vigil for many more hours. And reread a passage in the book about what happens when death is near…

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Well, I recognized it…. and it was amazing.

She died later that night. A half an hour after I’d left.

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33 thoughts on “Going out on a limb… part 6.”

  1. Beautifully written and just as I’ve seen. Often people worry so much that they weren’t in the room when their person died. People live and die on their own terms. I’ve seen the care people have for their special people as their life draws to a close. Sometimes that final gift is dying while others are out of the room, sometimes it’s with them but it’s always about love imo

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think that’s the thing about dying, it teaches us so much. Ready for our own death. They are in deed strangely wrapped gifts but gifts nevertheless. Take good care of yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. At the end of her life, I’d visited my mom in the hospital every day. The day she passed, the hospital called to tell me she was going fast and I should come ASAP — but she passed before I got there. I cry every time I think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing how unfamiliar we all are with death. Your experience is wistful and wonderful and profoundly insightful into how a life can end peacefully. Thanks for sharing it here.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think you saved the best for last. Your mom’s experience with sudden lucidity close to the end mirrors so many others I’ve read about/seen. I got goosebumps when you said she reached out and smiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I went into this experience totally blind. My father died quickly of a heart attack and I’d never been with anyone at the end so I didn’t know what to expect. It was heartbreaking, but beautiful as well.

      Like

  5. I can never thank you enough for sending me those books. I bought 3 more sets to give to people. In fact, Sunday? I may be giving out a set. Sealed in an envelope but she will need it.

    The books are amazingly accurate and everyone going thru this needs to read them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The timing of this post is something. I wasn’t going to say anything because I don’t want to take away from you and your mom’s story but I feel like I almost need to share. A friend of mine from high school passed away this morning. So reading your post today gave me peace when I needed it. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I learned a lot of the things you shared here when my dad was in hospice (also a lovely place with lovely people – not like a nursing home at all). It’s the kind of stuff you just don’t learn or realize until you are around a dying loved one and the people who care for them. Thanks for sharing such personal and beautiful stories. Once again, strangely, you have me crying while putting away dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

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