This past weekend, my cousin was visiting from Ottawa. I don’t think I have seen her since just after my mother’s funeral in 2005 and considering that she lives only about three and a half hours away, that’s pretty sad. It was great to catch up and reminisce and she is renting a cottage in Nova Scotia for the month of July, so I think I shall venture down and spend a few days.
This coming weekend, we have Cavan’s uncle’s birthday and then, of course, several Tenebrae services, so it will be a busy time. I have also taken on a new ‘visitee’ in the Friendly Visitor program for Community Care Northumberland. I will be visiting both ladies this afternoon.
So, to the topic at hand: The Circle of Life. I had the honor of spending several hours with a palliative on Tuesday. This lady was only 68, but was in the final stage of early onset Alzheimer’s. This is one nasty disease that robs both the sufferer, and their family of so much. She didn’t have people to sit with her, so I spent three hours with her, before one of the staff at Extendicare took over.
I was just getting my coat on to go back over Wednesday morning, when I was informed that she had passed early that morning. In some way, it was sad and yet I have always believed in the difference of quality and quantity of life. This lovely lady had lost the quality of her life and although she did not know who I was, I pray that I was able to offer some comfort in her declining hours. She was restless and in discomfort in the morning, but after a shot of morphine, she slept while I was there in the afternoon. I had prayed for God to make her passing as gentle as possible and I hope that was the case.
I also believe in life after death, so I believe that she had many people to greet her when she crossed over to a life without pain and suffering.
I have often joked about death. I do not fear it, although I am not in a hurry to experience it, but I do fear pain. But then doesn’t everyone? I have also joked that if I am ever on life support, to keep me attached until I am a size four and then let me go. I’ve never been a size four. I hope that no one has taken me seriously about that. That would not be quality of life, only quantity. There is no point to it.
I have become part of a program at Extendicare called ‘My Wishes,’ I may have mentioned it before. I get to interview new residents at the facility. There is a set list of 10 items and they want to find out which of the items are important at end of life. I am fascinated by the fact that these folks even want to talk about it. My own mother had no interest in discussing such things and so I had no idea what her final wishes were, except that she never liked open caskets and she want the hymn ‘Breathe on Me Breath of God.’ sung at the funeral. We did that, of course, although I cried through the entire hymn. But that’s just me.
It is great that folks can let others know exactly what they want. For me, I want no fuss and I wish to be cremated. Other than that, I don’t really care. I’ll be gone by then, so I would have far better things to concern myself with anyway.
Well, that was kind of an interesting topic, wasn’t it? It is often that the death of one causes you to think of your own mortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. To me, I will just be returning home, to see those who have passed ahead of me (including my cats!). I am not in a hurry, but I would really rather it not be a painful passing.
So, may you all have a gentle week and make your loved ones know of your wishes, please. God bless!