This is a picture taken of the window which was right next to Mother’s bed.
It had such a lovely view.
There were many varieties of birds that would gather at the feeder.
As you can see, outside there are gardens and pathways that allow the residents and their family and friends a serene setting to take in some quiet time in the fresh air and sunshine.
I spent three days looking out of this same window.
Mother spent a few days more.
I was told by her friends, that when she was admitted, she was very happy with this view.
On the morning that she died it was bright and sunny and beautiful and perfect.
But I did not have the heart for it.
The day before, Tuesday, I knew that the end was near when they were repositioning her and cleaning up the room.
I was quickly summoned and told that I must come now because her breathing had changed dramatically.
They found me in the main room. It’s a lovely sitting room with a piano and lots of comfortable couches and chairs. There are books and ample toys for children. There was even a table with a jigsaw puzzle. That’s what I was working on when they found me. I found it a nice diversion to help clear my mind.
And so, I rushed back to the room and the attending nurse said that Mother may only have a few minutes left.
She stayed with me for the next two hours while I sat next to Mother and held her hand.
The evening grew late and I began to settle in for a long night. I was asked if they could prepare the pull out couch but I declined. I wanted to be by my Mother’s side. I wanted her to know she was not alone. I wanted to hold her hand and feel her warmth.
And so I did.
Two of her closest friends stopped by to see how she was doing.
And then for one whole wonderful hour we sat and talked and reminisced about Mother.
It was truly comforting.
I will always be grateful for their company that night.
Every hour a staff member came and checked on her.
We held hands the entire time. Every 20 minutes I would get up lean over her shoulder and cover her cheek with kisses. Then I would softly sing into her ear. Sometimes I would pray.
On the pillow next to her was a picture of her Father. On the table next to her, was a picture of her husband. I promised her that she would see them both again very soon.
In the early-morning hours there was no hot coffee, however the watercooler did just fine.
At 5:00 AM I figured out how to ease back the easy chair and raise the base for my feet.
With her hand still in mine, I thought I should close my eyes for a few minutes. The only sound that filled the air was Mother’s laboured breathing. She was quite unconscious and I hoped comfortable and free of pain.
Her face showed only exhaustion.
At 5:30 AM my eyes opened.
The sky was not as dark and dawn was on it’s way. The sound of Mother’s breathing still filled the room.
At 5:45 my eyes opened again. The sky was a little brighter. Still the sound of breathing.
I closed my eyes.
My eyes popped open at 6 AM.
The room was silent.
There was no sound of breathing.
I sat up to turn towards Mother. Her hand was still in mind. Sure enough, there was no sound of heavy breathing, but I thought I saw her chest move.
Locating the buzzer on her bed, I rang for the nurse.
A minute later, the nurse walked through the door.
“Please check her,” I asked.
The nurse immediately checked her blood pressure and heart beat, twice.
“She’s gone,” she nodded.
I asked for a few minutes of privacy.
The nurse quietly left the room closing the door behind her.
In the stillness of the room I continued to hold my Mother’s hand and collected my thoughts.
My first priority was to make these last few minutes with her, were mindful ones.
There would be no funeral, no viewing, no memorial service.
This truly was our last goodbye.
And in those moments as sad as they were, I was grateful that God was making his presence felt. I knew it was his grace that gave me peace and strength. I kissed her cheek and forehead.
After a few minutes I let go of her hand then took a few moments to collect my things and prepare for my departure.
Once everything was gathered I stood by the side of her bed, gave her another kiss on the forehead and breathed her in one last time.
She was not there, only her body was.
As I left the room, I turned back once more before stepping out into the hallway. After one last look I stepped out of the room and closed the door behind me.