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thoughtful thoughts

What do you say?

When it is the last time you’ll likely see a person again, this side of heaven? Because that person is finally succumbing to their battle with cancer within the next little while?

Everything you would say in normal conversation seems redundant. Why would they care where you’re going in the next little while? Or that you’re struggling to find a job or decide what to do with your life? Suddenly all of life’s big deals seem small, mundane and insignificant. They are at the end of their life. You could talk about their life and thank them for being such an amazing person, but that sounds a bit like giving a premature eulogy. You could say how glad you are that they are finally going to be Home, free of this world’s pain and suffering, that they finally get to meet their Saviour and King face-to-face, which, yes, is cause for rejoicing, but to me that feels a bit morbid… to be discussing their imminent passing with them, no matter how great it’ll be (well, one-sided conversation, as her only form of communication is through hand-squeezing now. She can’t even open her eyes much anymore).

All of this flashed through my mind as we sat there beside her bed. Thank goodness she can at least be home, with all healthcare and equipment provided there for her, so that she can be with loved ones and her ever over-affectionate Irish setter. I am not a conversational wizard at best, and at that moment, even less so. I could only sit there, hold her hand and squeeze it, my biggest enemy the tears that fought to roll down my face.

In the end, we ended up reminiscing about the good ol’ days, and listened to stories about her from her husband and my aunt, and we prayed for her. For comfort and peace of body, mind and spirit in this last little while. When we said our goodbyes, I’d never felt her squeeze my hand so hard; she wouldn’t let go. I can only be thankful and glad that I know I’ll see her again one day.

—Update Aug. 5, 2010 : She passed away peacefully in her sleep this morning—


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August 2010
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