....I can't see what lies ahead.
I find myself in a situation without a map, no GPS, no ethereal voice to tell me, "you are coming to an exit in 60 feet."
100 years ago, (or at least it feels like)I watched my Dad die slowly from terminal lung cancer. It spread so fast, I didn't have time to prepare for what was to follow... I got a call from a relative one day, flew out on the next plane, and Dad was gone 10 days later. I sat with him for 5 days after his release from the hospital, and let hospice come every day like clockwork, to do what they needed, to see to his physical needs. I was there to help him in any way I could that would make his last days as easy as possible.
It wasn't easy. Mom was there, in body; her mind had left the building long ago. She tried to help, she was hardwired by almost 50 years as the devoted Wife and Mother. She didn't remember how to hand him things, got frustrated easliy, and saddened when Dad would tell her to stop whatever she was doing.
I don't think I had any more of an idea what to do, than my mom did..the Blind leading the Blind. Dad was so patient, so tired; most of the time he slept, and if he needed anything, he would ring his bell. He had lost his voice around Christmas of the year before, could barely be heard above a whisper.
I watched as my Dad take his final breathe that day, afraid to touch him, for fear it would hasten his passing. I could just sit there and watch as he took his final breathe, stoking his head. I had already called the hospice nurse, Nancy. I was waiting for her at the front steps 20 minutes later; she knew immediately she had arrived too late.
Like a storm trooper, she set to task making all the necessary phone calls and arrangements to the funeral home, ordered the paperwork, and finally she gathered my Mom and brought her to my Dad's side, for their final moments together. I couldn't move, it was like my feet were nailed to the floor. I watched as Nancy slowly explained to Mom what had just happened. She spoke to her in slow, clear words that Mom would understand. I watched helplessly as my Mom's thoughts turned, and the realization hit her, and then I watched as her heart broke. As tears streamed from my eyes I watched as finally the recognition in her eyes faded away. None of us knew what to say to her-we gathered around to hug and comfort her, and guide her quietly away as the attendants came to gather Dad's still form and wheel him outside to the waiting hearse. The hospice nurse instructed us to allow Mom remember things they way she would, and not feel a need to remind her that Dad was now gone from her life. She told us to let it go. To remind Mom would only cause her to grieve all over again, and it was not going to help, and would not be fair to her.
The rest is a blur; I try not to go there these days, its too sad to have to relive. It hurts to remember all over again. But I can't forget.
The mind doesn't want to go there, it shuts out the unpleasant, in an effort to shield itself from further pain and damage. The body doesn't give up, it just keeps going and going, until it falls into troubled sleep, too exhausted to maintain a watchful vigil. Right now, more than ever, I need to know what to do. I need to know I will do the right thing, if I ever find myself in a similar situation. I don't want to be afraid to do what feels right, no matter what. I don't want to be left with any doubts or regrets, that I should have done this-or-that...will it make any difference after the fact. No. Then it will be too late. I can't allow doubt to take seed. Regret is a bitter pill.
Guiding Spirit, please don't leave me when I fall asleep. I need to be awake, and fully capable of giving my all, when called upon.