My older sister once suggested to me that dying is like being born; for many there is a long labor into that next phase of life while others are delivered quickly. I pondered this unwillingly knowing that a loved one was moving closer to the time.
And now here we are at the birthing room to eternity. We hold hands, give hugs, speak love, stroke hair. We are present, loving, though our hearts ache.
Saying good-by to this woman friend, sister, aunt, sister-in-love is a hard work and I want to snatch her from it all and cradle her long. I’m so grateful that the daily skilled hands of nursing are those of an old friend who loves her well and who is spending herself to serve.
Folks gather, mostly women, caring friends all; they sing, read passages, speak love, hug, soothe, and make her comfortable. Hours pass and I am unsettled, my spirit restless like the flames that leap, at odds with the restfulness of the tulips.
I wait for my peace to settle in me, for rest to come. Time is slow and hurried together as I sit and rock and look out at the bare winter trees, dark and still. And almost I hear their tree-hearts beating strong and steady, deep and slow in this season full of memory deep within of growth and life past and hope future.
Time has no meaning now as she seems to hear us no more, but we speak on and sing to her spirit while snow falls in the night. And then in the early morning light while the snow falls gently, quietly, her warmth slips away carrying with it her voice, her humor, her laughter, her wisdom and she is free, free from her long, long walk with cancer.
January 24, 2013, a new life began for all of us and we hear her voice, her humor, her laughter and her wisdom deep in our hearts.