We said goodbye to a friend last night. We won’t see him in his home again and we will miss him, especially when we go out there to visit. He loved his home by the lake with the garden all around, the hummingbirds hovering around the feeders, lots of birds and squirrels outside the window, the lake just the other side of the house. So, he spent his last days there surrounded by all of the natural beauty he loved and by his family who cared for him.
On Friday evening Leo and I went out to see him. He could no longer respond to us by then and we knew it would not be long. His body was riddled with cancer but he never had given up easily, and I guess it was no different fighting disease than throwing his efforts behind any of the many endeavors he undertook in life.
When we were there on Friday, it was time for the homecare nurse to come and care for him as well as time to change and turn him. I watched this act of love take place. The bedsores were tended, lotion was massaged onto his drying skin, and he was changed into a fresh gown and was given fresh sheets. His wife, daughter and sons were not careless. It was obvious that they were handling a man that they loved – this care was itself an act of love. Just bringing him home where they were obligated to provide this kind of care round the clock was an act of love and care. They did well.
It made me hope that when it is time for me to go I can die a good death like his, in a place I love surrounded by family caring for me. I don’t know that my state of consciousness will have much to do with it. There is something about love that reaches through all that to envelope the dying person, I think. Seeing that sort of love at work makes me contemplate my own time of passage with less trepidation.