Well, over the last few nights at work (palliative care) I have had a few people die, pass away, lost and leave what ever you feel comfortable to say. One women in the middle of the night as I leaned over her to turn her, gently touched my arm and said “hello daring” so sweet and tender was her touch and her words. That I was reminded of the power of love, in that moment, she only lived for another 24 hours (not that she new that) but in that moment her thoughts turned to me.
I am writing this down because I want to remember these moments, that so often get lost in the months and years of life. She was stiff with pain, the pain of not being able to move her joints freely and at will. But once turned she was again, in peace. The morphine was being delivered by a pump and I added to that when I thought it was required.
Sometimes, she prayed for God to take her now and sometimes she didn’t know where she was. Sometimes, death can be so elusive, how do you say..it won’t be long now. Your time is near,we can’t control that final exit. Over and over I was asked..how much longer? whats happening now? Answers that can’t be given, all I can do is reassure that this is the pathway to death.
She was still so full of life, enveloped in grey, the grey of her face, her hair, her sheets and the dark of the night. Surrounded by her grown sons who kept a bedside vigil. I came to work the next night and I found out that she had just died. So I went in to say goodbye, and I was dismayed by her appearance. Gone was the gentle soft grey sweetly spoken women. I don’t know quite why I was so upset by her appearance (I have seen many people die), but I did want to say good bye one last time and perhaps that is why. That she was so gone, that it seemed that goodbyes were no longer necessary.