Sunday, June 18, 2006

So Glad We Said Goodbye

The call came at 3am on Saturday, less than 12 hours since my visit to the home (see previous post). A tearful sister-in-law was on the other line, apologizing for waking me. I thanked her heartfully for the call, asking if everyone was OK and if Hospice had been called. They were apparently called just before me and were on their way to the home. I offered condolences and some advice---drink water, stay close to his wife---and hung up the phone, informing my wife that my patient had died. Lighting a candle in the dark dining room, I offered this soul my blessings and encouragement to be on its way back to the Source. I smiled and went back to bed.

In the late morning, driving in the car with my wife and son towards my niece's graduation party in another state, I called my patient's wife to check in. She was composed, voice slightly shaky. I urged her to drink water, eat small frequent meals, and stay close to family, especially during the first day or two. Her response---"Oh, we never have any problem eating in this family"---was followed by genuine laughter from her and her sister in the background. She thoughtfully gave me the details for the wake and funeral, both of which I'll be sure to attend. I told her I loved her, a blessing which she promptly returned.

Another soul leaves the earth. Another family grieves while simultaneously experiencing the sweet relief that a long period of suffering and transition is now over.

May all beings be free from suffering.
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