We’re nearing the end. Mom hasn’t eaten anything, not even a popsicle, in two days. The “comfort” drugs are powerful, blunt instruments that can only do so much to relieve her pain and discomfort. She is sleeping more and more. Her breath is shallow, but – thankfully – untroubled right now.
This morning, we got to have a few lucid minutes with her, before she fell back asleep. Cass – her granddaughter, my niece – and I were with her in the room. She said to us: “It feels like I keep waking up from death.” A pause, then “It feels weird”. “I bet it does!” I replied. “Does that make sense?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered. Then she began to say “But you …” and dismissed what she was going to say. I understood it as “You don’t believe in anything” as I’m atheist.
I do believe in the sacredness of this time, this experience. This morning’s conversation, however brief, was a blessing. There are no magic spirits behind any of this. It’s what we bring of ourselves to it.
Wishing that this would end soon arises from both kindness and selfishness. They coexist in us. There is so much else going on around me and my family right now, I don’t know how we endure it. Not to mention the state of the world, the peril we face in this country. But endure we must.
I am tired. I need to sleep. I hate the idea of leaving my mother alone in this room. I don’t want her to wake up and see there’s no one here. But that’s an unrealistic fear. She is sleeping peacefully right now, and most likely will for hours. I will be up hours before we get her up in the morning to change her.
I just want one of us to be with her when she passes. When she no longer wakes from her last death.