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."