" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

November 23, 2007

Letting Go

My mother died on Tuesday, November 20th at about 1:15 pm. My father, one of my sisters and I had been with her all morning as we had been every day since she went into the hospital on November 6th.

When she chose to go off dialysis they said her death would be peaceful, that she'd just go into a coma. I wouldn't characterize her last 3 days that way at all.

In fact, the last 3 days seemed completely unnecessary and inhumane.
If we can put our pets to sleep, why can't we choose to put people to sleep in the same way when we know that they are going to die? Why must we wait for them to waste away, to stop breathing on their own, even when it seems that what they are experiencing, in spite of morphine, is labored?

I couldn't help but think that in life she had not been good at letting go and that was what I was watching as she journeyed towards death.

We were stroking her face and talking to her and holding her hands on and off because they say that hearing and touch are the last senses to go. We were telling her that it was okay to let go, that she could just let go and everything would be okay. We would be okay.

I believe, in spite of her not being able to communicate those last 3 days that she did hear me and in fact, if I could indulge in a little black humour I believe she was probably thinking that she wished she could tell us to stop saying THAT. I can just hear her saying that. Lying dying and having living people tell you that it's okay to let go would be really annoying don't you think? I'd find it annoying.

The waiting was the same as I imagine it must be waiting for a birth. The impatience mounts. You can't believe it's taking so long. But, you know you have no control over when the timing is right. All you can do is wait.

It was the most profound experience I've ever had. It was love personified to be with her. A messy reminder that every physical thing you have ever owned, every disagreement you've ever had, every person you've ever met, every memory, every place you've ever been, everything your ego has ever believed about you, or wanted to believe, every denial - let it go. Be in the moment. Your fingers are being unwrapped from whatever you are grasping for in every moment of every day until the timing is right for your own death. And, you don't get to decide when "right" is.

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