Saturday, November 15, 2014

At the moment of death

Now precious, private time

Sometimes it is difficult to know when the actual death comes. It is OK to just be there with love. Easy. "No where to go, nothing to do," just there with the loss, the respect, your feelings which may not be all that clear to you.

At some point you will want to write down the time of death when it seemed the person you love is no longer in the body before you.

I feel this is now your time. It is precious. Please do not feel you must make any calls. Except to those you love who you wish to be there. Or dear friends of the one who has died.  Once you call professionals, hospice, mortuary, and such there will be many decisions, much to do, many questions. You may never be able to get back to this almost sacred time.

Now private. There maybe more you wish to say. Linger, share, tell stories as loved ones together, play music, sing, laugh, cry, touch, soothe, or wash the hand you know. Some wash the body, cover it with silk, linen, flowers.

Ask those who you wish to come, to come soon and bring food, flowers, music, and instruments. Perhaps with an object, photos for a sacred spot in the room, candles, and if you do not have them, low lights. Or just invite them to come.

Take all the time you all need. Be bold. Protect this private time. Then when your are ready call the agency, the doctor, hospice, those who will need to know. But not before you are ready.

Once you  leave the bedside, the room, there will be much to do. Sorrow and shock of others to be attended to. Planning.  Things asked of you.

Out of your control, the waiting world may press hard and you leave this time of the heart. And never quite be there again in this way.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

This is how I come to the bedside

To comfort and care in last hours of life


I know exactly how to walk into the room when it is closed
when nurses say, “Nothing more to do, she is dying.
You might as well go home.”

I know how to come without knowing a thing
            Simply, with so much love
Come into the room, into the sacred time.

Walk with soft feet, to the bedside, lean gently
to the form, barely raises the sheet 
            Your breath near.

Say, “I am here
so grateful to come to you,” as each word
is heard by one hungry for you to be close
but perhaps too ill to respond.

Words you share of who you are,
how long to be there, and to pull a chair
very close, intimate, in the utterances of
your heart.  

And smile because this simple time and
complex, sorrowful, dear time  profound
but just time waiting, wondering, and perhaps
            more waiting
            never really knowing.

But one need not be alone
but talked through it.

“I am here. May I touch your hand?
Put it under yours to let you know I care?”

“Your life made such a difference.”
Say the things you love, value, appreciate.
Sing or hum a gentle song.
            Read a loved poem.

As you are there to let the one
know he or she is safe.

Please let me know your thoughts

Saturday, August 23, 2014

No door shut to life, the one who is there.

When we are critically ill we may feel lost and afraid. Even panicked. 
When one is dying they too may feel alone... abandoned. 
"No one cares. "
How can we be there at the bedside in those last hours?
To relieve suffering. Is there a way we may talk another through it?

A soldier once told me, "On the battlefield of  'Nam no one was left to die
alone.We lifted him into another's lap, their head upon the breast, clustered 
together in those last breaths we were there, before we moved on."

Whether Viet Nam, hospital or one's own home we can be there for

No door shut, no curtains closed to the life of the one whose body is
to ill to go on.

No one need die alone unless one seems to need that in order to "let go."