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Posts tagged ‘dying’

The End Days

Mary, our hospice nurse/counsellor, helps me feel tranquil about this period with my mother who is in a soft decline. Mom is fragile and may be swept off by a flu or cough or fall from which she cannot recover, or she may hover for months. She will probably sleep more more and then one day not wake. We cannot know. Read more

Stillness & Tea

I sip my tea, running my heart’s fingers over the contours of compassion. This wet, cool morning intensifies  pain in my hips and pelvis. With the pain, my stillness intensifies. I am unable to escape so I stay. After months of pain, my mind is worn down with ‘weather report’ remarks to itself, as if today’s alarm bell of pain is an emergency. It isn’t. It is just there. It is time to move on inside myself. As long as I sit still, I am free. This situation allows me, finally, to explore through the world of physical quietude what courses beneath. Read more

Scrubbing Go

Integration comes within the grief.

The small tabletop, eight Persian tiles assembled into a pattern of snaking navy blue vines on a background of pale blue edged along its long sides by two mahogany strips, sits on a luggage stand in front of the south-facing bay window. Read more

Corpse

In bed, alone, under two duvets to be warm on a cold night, I move with music in the earbuds. I focus on my right leg, which strokes the sheets, then my right side. Whoosh, a flood of tears. Strange chunks of brittle, wooden tears. Inside gloom in my skull I see Dad. Dad—-after he stopped breathing, when we were alone in the quiet room before the coroner arrived. Quiet. No longer hushed. Empty quiet. I sat in blunt shock of a din gone. His body cooled and stiffened. His skin drained and tightened over the bones Read more

The Scent of Dying

As I slowly mourn, I am in the house where I grew up and where I cared for my father in his last days. The house has become an altar…I remember the scents of his dying. Read more

Dancing by His Bed

I continue writing about helping my father as he completed his life. At this posting my father has already died, but this piece and the following few posts concern his end days.

December 29: Morphine Day 2
I stand at the foot of his bed. He is in a state of torpor. Though I’m in too much pain to walk, I can stand and sway to plangent Persian music playing on my phone. I feel comforted dancing slowly at his feet. He loves my dance. If he could open his eyes, he would love seeing me. Read more

Last Breath

I continue writing about helping my father as he completed his life. At this posting my father has already died, but this piece and the following few posts concern his end days.

December 31
He snuck that last breath by me. It was a soft little breath.

For a day and a half he had been curled against the raised bed and mounds of pillows, his head tilted and turned to the right so he wouldn’t choke on secretions and on the morphine tucked and massaged into his cheek. Read more

I Cry All the Time

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life. At this posting my father has already died, but I want to share in this and the following few posts descriptions of his end days.

December 20
His eyelids flicker. I rarely see his blue eyes now since he sleeps most of the time. “Eyes are a piece of the brain,” someone once told me. Not as poetic as ‘window of the soul’, but right now that understanding of eyes captures my experience. I’m mostly shut out; those gatekeeper eyes slam the door in my face.  I’m alone out here in the chair by his bed. Read more

Time for Prayers

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

He doesn’t decline uniformly like an orchestra on a river boat, the sound floating away and away. He declines in small bits. When was the last time he woke bright-eyed with the life-long look of himself filling his face, stand with grace to full height, and walk in solid, small, careful sailor steps to the mantlepiece to let his fingers savor the smooth wood? Two weeks now…He was remembering, enjoying. I didn’t realize that the last time he did that would be the last time he could do that. Read more

With Dad in the ER

He is on the hospital bed. The nurses have dimmed the lights. It must be night…We arrived hours ago. He was stashed in a booth. The ER is crowded on this summer Monday. A nurse comes with questions. Then leaves. Then a doctor. He leaves. Time passes…

My brother, David, stands and I sit. We listen to Dad, almost accustomed to his aphasic communication. Read more