Nearing the End

July 31, 2017

The end is near.  Mom made what they call a “transition” in hospice-speak this past weekend.  She began to have more and more trouble swallowing and by the end of the weekend was no longer successfully taking ice chips or ice cream.  Less than a week ago I was attempting to feed her tiny pieces of a banana muffin.  I left the room for a quick minute in the middle of feeding her.  When I came back the paper plate was on the floor and pieces of muffin scattered.  I asked her what happened.  She said, “There was an explosion.”  I could not help but laugh.

There is nothing to laugh about now though.  She lies very quietly, her breathing is quick and shallow.  Her heart rate speeds up and then slows down.  I have a stethoscope I use to listen to her heart.  It may sound strange but I find myself marveling and strangely comforted as I listen to her heart beat.  Her body has become so frail, even emaciated, yet her heart continues on and will do so until the days God has numbered for her come to their completion.

Unlike many in hospice care, Mom does not have a terminal illness.  She has a terminal condition, which is true for all of us.  It just so happens her terminality is more apparent. If Mom could speak I think she would say she’s been happy and content with the quality of her life in the past couple years.  She has been with people who love her.  Her friends and family have kept in touch with her throughout her declining mental state. And now she lies quietly and peacefully without the appearance of agitation. The sanctity and quality of her life even in this state are precious.

The end of her sacred journey is in sight.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing me and my family to walk this road with her.

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