Death is the great equalizer; no matter one's status in life--rich or poor--we will all walk it. I was reminded this week that God holds life and death in His hands. Over the weekend my parents and I marked one year since my mother was sent home under hospice care to die. This was her shortly after that:
When the ambulance was getting ready to bring her home after a week in ICU, I spoke to a nurse who told me it was anybody's "guess" how long she had. She had gone into the hospital with pneumonia and was released with congestive heart failure. This is now, one year later:
She is nothing short of a miracle. She was under hospice care from about February 28 last year until early December. From December until mid-February she was under Low Country Home Health Care's umbrella. Through it all, my father was there daily to take care of all her needs as her primary caregiver. I helped out on the weekends, and my brother continues to go on Thursdays to do yard work and laundry. Mother is now using the walker and using the wheelchair just to get to the table for meals. A year ago none of us expected this.
On a sadder note, a cousin died this week in Charleston. I probably had not seen her in close to 25 years. Her father (Mother's baby brother) is dead, and her own mother disavowed her years ago. I don't know if she died alone or not. A few cousins are going to claim the body, I think, and see about giving her some kind of burial. It's the right thing to do. Ever since I heard about Terry, I have thought of how awful it must be to die alone.
A friend this week thought he was having a heart attack and thought he was "going home." He meant to heaven, as this earth is not the final stop for those of us who believe. He is ok, but all of this has had me thinking of how transitory life is. What do you believe? Where do you think you'll be when you get to the end of your road? Heaven? Nothingness? A long sleep? As one who has faced death in a cancer diagnosis, I don't fear it; I fear dying a slow death alone.