Time has passed and Auntie Irene is now visibly closer to the end of her life. I spend hours sitting by her bedside, not knowing if she is aware that I am there. Day-to-day life at the hospice continues.
Here are the final excerpts from my diary.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
I have decided to participate in the walk across Morcambe Bay. It was a last minute decision, but I desperately wanted to do something to give back to the hospice for all their loving care to Auntie. I received many sponsors from Auntie’s neighbors – – I didn’t even have to ask. The Morcambe Bay walk was a true connection with the earth. Walking waist deep in the bay, blue skies overhead and surrounded by caring individuals whose only goal is to help others. This entire event was so soothing to my soul and brought me great peace of mind.
Monday, September 7, 2015
I arrived at the hospice as nurses were giving auntie a bed bath. They move her carefully and talk to her so lovingly. As I watch, it feels like they are caring for a new-born baby with total unconditional love.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
I sat quietly and peacefully most of the day in Auntie’s room. She was comfortable and without pain. I return home around 7:00 p.m. I was hesitant to leave, but I was so tired and decided to return later. Around 8:30 p.m. the phone rings. Eileen, senior staff nurse, calls to tell me that auntie passed peacefully a few minutes ago. Her voice is so tender and caring. I immediately return to St. Catherine’s. Eileen is waiting for me and takes me to auntie’s room. Eileen and I kneel by the bed together. Eileen is there with me. I tell her how much I loved Auntie Irene and she holds my hand and her eyes convey a deep understanding. (This is a moment I will never forget: kneeling by my aunt’s bed, hand in hand, with a truly caring nurse, who listens (an art in itself). Where does this happen today? )
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Today is Auntie’s funeral at Charnock Richard Crematorium. The service was emotional, but a true celebration of her life. After the service the reception is held at The Mill, St Catherine’s Park. Nicola, The Mill team leader, who Auntie loved to see, has decorated the reception room with such a personal touch. Each individual table is covered with a crisp white tablecloth, pink carnations, auntie’s favorite flowers, are centre pieces, sandwiches, cream cakes and drinks are all served individually to each table. Photos of Auntie surround the room. As I sit and watch all her friends chatting and celebrating her life over afternoon tea, I am taken back to her first day at St Catherine’s. I remember sitting in the garden outside her room and having biscuits and tea. She felt so safe and cared for. This special place she grew to love now hosts her final goodbye …… a perfect farewell.