If I close my eyes, I can still hear the sound of the rustling leaves; the meandering trickle of the waterfall; the melodious chirp of the songbirds; the crunching sound of pebbles under my feet; and, I can feel the midday sun’s warmth in my hair. The tranquil grounds outside of the hospice house offer sanctuary and respite for caregivers and families. Comprised through monetary donations and gifts-in-kind, the hospice house and campus grant terminally ill patients and their loved ones a time to reflect and connect with each other before saying goodbye.
I remember my father-in-law saying when he was diagnosed with lung cancer, that none of us are meant to stay here forever. My mother-in-law, at the announcement of her cancer diagnoses, felt blessed to be 89 years old. “I’ve lived a good life,” she said. She also acknowledged God with gratitude for granting her with the means to raise two respectful, responsible sons and she confirmed her love for her daughter-in-laws, too.
“I’m ready to go,” she said and left it at that.
Since her funeral, I’ve thought about her life, her courage at facing the end of her life, and the impact that her life had on so many. Before she slipped into her final sleep, she told us to be good to each other and to take care of her grandson and his children— her great-grandchildren. Even in her last coherent moments, she thought of others.
We await the healing balm of time. But for those of us who are left to endure life without our mother, the sting of her death, the void of her presence, seems unbearable. We will move forward, and we will honor her memory by being kind to each other, just as she instructed.
One week later we come to terms with the passing of our mother. Sad, though we are, we rejoice, because one more precious soul rests in the arms of her Lord!