How many times in the last month have I sounded the alarm here and to my family? At first, I likened it to the roller coaster ride…the downs and ups of the ride that cause one to gradually adjust to this life ending journey. But, the roller coaster analogy has no worth now.
Does this need an analogy? She is dying. Right before me she is wasting. Before me she is gasping and off in some other place that shuts out all my efforts to make sense, and frankly shuts out ‘experts’ who devise rationals, schedules, benchmarks re my aunt’s journey…no one knows.
I have sounded the alarm to family far and wide and this dying process continues. Why do I care how long it takes? The longer the better. The longer she is here the better right? Hmmm? Maybe not now. She is struggling. She is running a blast oven temp. She is cyanotic. She is gasping. No, it is time for her to let go. Yes, I have told her to do so. She ignores my gentle suggestion, much as my mom violently shook her head at me when I said that. NO! she motioned! while deep in the throes of death. Then with a few minutes she passed away.
Here’s the deal…I have sounded the alarm with a sense of assuredness and it impacts others who feel the loss from afar, but the delays cause them to gradually turn away and say….let me know when it actually happens. Why should I care? Good question. I am the type that is usually quite precise on addressing some form of a disaster. This is not precise, at least my aunt’s journey is not easily definable.
So, prepare your mind two ways: don’t be surprised if the bottom falls out and your loved one is gone and out of your life right away…..or, maybe, just maybe this will go on and on, while that loved one is wasting before your eyes. The vigil will require fortitude and something beyond man’s scientific guidelines….patience and prayer.
It isn’t crying wolf. It is the slow motion decline that does not mesh well with sounding an alarm. A gentle notice is in order: hey…this may well take quite awhile. Plan on it…if it doesn’t I will reach out and advise you, otherwise…no hospice nurse, doctor or care giver can always connect those symptomatic dots to that one elusive factor…the will to live…the spark of life…the individual journey to the other side.
Meanwhile, the vigil continues some 30 hours in and powerfully beyond the calculations of the frequent surveyors of death. I have put them, the family, on notice….I won’t sound the alarm, blow the horn again. When they hear from me next time the journey for my Auntie will be complete….if not for the rest of us. “Soon”? Hmmm? A relative term it appears when dealing with the spark of life.
You reading this…don’t turn away. Just sigh, shake your head and think: “This is why I extended my prayers to you and yours, because this is a potentially excruciatingly slow journey.” Or, be forewarned for later….remember the patience required.