Monday, April 08, 2013

Reflections on a loved one dying

Three months ago she was frail but capable; going for long walks, preparing food for family, holding grand-kids, buying bargains at Costco, and giving tips on healthy living.  But those three months seem like many long years.  The cancer has metastasized. It is taking over her lungs, her body, her strength.

Breathing is painful and getting harder.  She needs constant oxygen.  Her face has turned gray and wrinkled.  The skin is taught and gaunt.  Life is seeping.  The world is spinning.  Soon it will spin beyond reach.  All we can do is wait.

It makes me feel small: like an ant living my life on a small mat floating down a great river.  I arrange my belongings, work hard, gather food, live my life.  But I know I am approaching the ocean.  It could be around any bend in the river.  And when I reach it I will be cast adrift in the boundless emptiness.

And yet, I am content.  I am content with my life, be it short or be it long.  It is already longer than I have right to demand.  I am happy for the good times.  I am even happy for the struggles.  I don't demand eternal life, or hope for the afterwards.   Yes I do have hopes and dreams and fears.  I want to achieve great things, and see my kids grow up and have kids of their own.  Those may or may not happen, but I know there will be a day when I take my last breath.  And what I want to say on that day is "I am content."

Addendum 13 April 2013:
This morning she died.  She was not afraid.  And to the end she was more concerned for the sicknesses and ailments of others than for herself.  The previous night she was giving me advice on getting over my cold/flu, while she was dying.