Sunday, January 05, 2014

Two nights ago a friend asked that I be with her in the hospital while a doctor administered lethal volumes of morphine, ativan, and dilaudid to her mother. She had had a major stroke after battling cancer and there was pretty much no chance of recovery. While no one called it euthanasia or assisted suicide, that is of course what it was. I stood with the family around her bed and they all recited the Lord's prayer. It was a very familiar feeling but I realized that though I have witnessed hundreds of animals passing and seen every possible reaction, I had never seen a human die. Her color changed (something you don't witness with animals because of the fur) first then her breathing slowed. And slowed. And slowed. Then stopped. It was very peaceful and very humbling and I was honored to be asked to be there with them.

I arrived home at 1 am and because I had dropped everything I was working on the moment I got the phone call, the kitchen was in a state of disarray. I had been in the middle of chopping cabbage to make sauerkraut and there were leaves and carrot pieces and ginger scraps everywhere. I finished up and used cleaning the kitchen as a meditation to quiet my brain. I carried the compost out into the yard and was greeted by a brilliantly clear and crisp winter sky. I stared at the infinity of the stars and said to myself "There's one more star in the sky tonight. You're out there somewhere, Jeanne." An instant later a shooting star shot across the eastern sky and all I could say was "yep."


Blogger Jo's World said...

You are a very good friend.

Anonymous nibaq said...

Been following you since the beginning. You have ability to write simple posts that show compassion and heart to the saddest of events.

Really appreciate your writing and sharing these events with us.

Blogger smurfix said...

Whew. Thank you for sharing.

NB: *dilaudid

Blogger Jean Pennie said...

This was beautiful. We should all be allowed to exit with grace in the midst of loved ones.

Blogger Amy said...

I watched my mother die over the course of about 8 days. This was almost 2 years ago. I had been planning on flying out to visit her, then two days before I was going to leave, she told my sister to call everyone together, that this was it. I moved my flight up and got there at 2 am, and she was in bad shape, but she lived another week. I was in the room with her when she died, and I didn't see anything. I felt like it should be more momentous somehow, but she just didn't take another breath, and that was it. It was a long time coming, though.

Anonymous Afton Christine said...

Thank you for sharing this. Witnessing the death of a human or a beloved animal is always difficult. I've had to put 3 of my dogs to sleep and I didn't stay.


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