There is nothing more emotional, awesome, chilling, and mysterious than the countdown to the passing of a loved one. Eight days have now passed since we were told that my Mother would ot live until the weekend. We were stunned, because just a month earlier we were told that she would live another six months to a year. But, suddenly, and like an avalanche that appears out of nowhere, we got the call that she was in "decline", and that if she lived to the weekend, they would be surprised.
I made the calls that I someday knew that I would have to make, and there were many tears. I told everyone the news, and we all held our collective breaths as the hours ticked slowly by. That has been eight days ago today, and she still breathes. When you go in the room where she is sleeping, there is an eerie silence that is deafening at times. The aides have started playing soft music in the background on the CD player, and there are scented candles burning in the room. Mom looks almost angelic as she sleeps, and that is all that she does, Her eyes have not been open in over a week, and she does not respond to anything, but still her heart beats steadily.
What is going on here? The philosophical and theological questions swirl through my mind like blowing snow, and they never stop, even as I sleep. Has her soul already left her body, and are we seeing only a mechanical shell? We are told by both medical people, and by the chaplain that she is at peace, and is between the two worlds of spiritual and physical. They say she is being prepared to leave the earth for the next plane. I wish that I could know the answer.
You see, my Mother is a DNR, so she is receiving no life support except for pain meds. She has not eaten or drank anything for over 5 days. How does her heart keep beating? Yesterday, the family was called in, and I made what I thought would be the last trip to see her. We sat in the room and waited. A phone was put up to her ear so that my daughter in San Diego could say her goodbyes. We all wept, including the nurse in the room. My sister from Seattle came, and sat with her until the wee hours of the morning. I waited for the phone call, but sill her heart beats.
I am at lost for words, The waiting is gut wrenching. I know she is going, and I accept that. I have made my final peace with her. And still, as of this morning, her heart is beating, and she remains unresponsive.
I wish that I could understand.