The last two years have been very difficult - watching her slide away, bit by bit, visit by visit, until she no longer knows us or herself any longer. The woman who loved to dance and walked everywhere has been a prisoner of her bed for too long. She sleeps most of the time now, resting up for the passing and for her new life in the next world. We've know for weeks that the end was approaching, but it's always a shock, no matter how long the final journey is.
Her doctor called me this afternoon and told me she has now suffered a major stroke which means she can no longer take any nourishment or water by mouth and her body is shutting down. He says she has one to three days left. I prepared myself years ago for this time, but its always hard to let go, no matter how much I know that she wants to go. Her faith in God and her church made her strong in her belief that this was not an end, but a new beginning. She was right that God is merciful, because I see His mercy to those who loved her in letting her go peacefully on her terms.
Many years ago, when she was still able to understand what was happening ot her, she and I had a conversation about what she wanted and how I was to carry out her wishes to not be kept in this world through artifical means.
She wanted to be allowed to slip these surly bonds of earth and be reunited with my father and those that she had loved who left her behind. Thank God she made it clear and easy for me to follow her wishes by making all that very clear and for removing the decision from me completely. We put all this in writing - down to the smallest detail of her passing - and filed it away for this time, when we need the strength and guidance from her to do what she wanted. What she wanted at the end was a peaceful dignified passing to the other side, with no pain, and to be remembered as she was in her prime, with joy and love. She's been a widow for more than 30 yrs now, and all she really wants is to be reunited with the great love of her life, my father, whom she missed desperately every day since then.
And so the waiting begins. I take great comfort knowing that the decisions were not mine to make, but hers and God's alone, and that she had the courage and foresight to make this as easy for me as it is possible to be when a loved one leaves us behind. And I take comfort in knowing that soon she will be free and with my father in her Heaven. If I live my life as well as she lived hers, that I will see them again, and she will thank me for letting her go as she wished. And we will DANCE as God claps his hand in time to the music and smiles.
My friends, have this conversation with your loved ones and give them the same gift that my mother gave to me. Give them a hug while you still can. Then dance a little - just for the pure joy of it. My mom has requested no funeral service of any kind, but John and I will play her favorite music and dance in her honor, because I know she'll be hearing that music in Heaven and she and my father will be dancing along with us.
Much love to you all!