Friday, November 17, 2006


Death is very much on our minds today. It approaches on little cat feet, like Sandburg’s fog, hovering at the window, ready to pounce once Bea shows willingness. Her retreat into herself concerns Lisa, who applies warm hands to Bea’s cheeks, colder than usual. Afterwards, Sven joins us for a brief conversation. We agree that most people cannot cope with the idea of imminent death, be it of a loved one, or oneself. The modern world has made the whole subject taboo.

Indeed, who wants to talk about death? Bea certainly doesn’t when the Chaplain from Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod stops by for a visit. My mother reiterates the wish to “go home”. We discuss her delight at having climbed a Belleville cherry tree as a child. And, she expresses the desire to see her mother again …

I summarize a recent conversation: “Bea expressed fear of death, and I told her it wouldn’t be so bad, that she would be surprised.”

“Pleasantly so perhaps,” adds the Chaplain, who then describes how deceased family members sometimes appear in dreams to show the sick and elderly the way.

Bea listens without comment. “I want to sleep,” she says. “Go away.”


Blogger Karyn said...

It's striking how often that phrase, "going home", has been uttered by people who teeter on the edge of What Comes Next.

One can almost take comfort from the idea... if one is of a mind to...

6:57 AM  
Blogger EllenDottysyoungest said...

I found it interesting that when it appeared my mother was probably not going to make it out of the hospital and back to the Nursing Home she was in that when I asked her if she was scared she indicated YES, when I asked "of what?" She shrugged, and said "Pain and death" - I said "why are you afriad to die?" and she said "I don't want to leave you." I told her she wouldn't be leaving me but I so wish that I'd known then what I know now - that she REALLY wasn't leaving me - she is so very present still it's amazing. Of course I miss her but my thought is that for her it's much different - she gets to be with everyone she loved.

8:37 AM  

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