Monday, June 25, 2007

An observation on hospice care . . .

Today was another typical day -- Bill's mom is no better, no worse. She is sleeping most of the time, and took no nourishment today, and maybe a sip or two of water. She is rarely able to form words, and seems to be slipping away. A wonderful booklet the social worker gave us describes the end of life, and the approximate sequence of events. No two deaths are the same, so there is no "formula" but she certainly is exhibiting many of the characteristics of being near the end. Simply the lack of sustenance means that she won't last more than a few days. As the booklet says, she appears to have one foot in this world, and one foot out.

It has been interesting to be in the hospice care center. I've never had the experience of being inside one before, and it is absolutely the most peaceful place I've ever been in, other than church. This place has 16 beds, and of course all patients are at the end of life. There is the most amazing feeling of peace there -- not just from the people and the surroundings, although both are truly amazing. I've never seen such a level of caring from staff before. Watching the nursing shift change, and the nurses stroking Bill's mom's hair as they care for her. Truly amazing. But what I mean by peaceful is that, despite the fact that all people housed there are on death's door, there is not a sense of dread or doom, but rather that there is a distinct presence of God there. You can almost see angels hovering in the corners, waiting to take their charges to heaven on angel's wings. You can most certainly feel their presence. This is not a sad feeling, but simply a feeling of waiting, and that the hospice is a place of transition. Bill and I both felt the presence of God, and these amazing heavenly angels.

I've never had much experience with angels before, certainly never felt the close presence of them. I've of course been felt the presence of God and His Holy Spirit throughout my life, but this place has angels everywhere. Sometimes out of the corner of my eye, I can almost see them.

Thank you for your support as we go through this difficult time. God bless you.