Watching a Life Expire

45032131_Your loved on is on a new journey…

Recently I was given the gift of being present with a loved one as she passed away.   Surrounded by loved ones, Anna’s body gently shook twice as she inhaled and exhaled her last breath.  We had been listening for a long time as changes in her breathing pattern ebbed and flowed.  With no heart monitor to watch, we only had her physical form to notice and we kept a sharp eye and ear open for every labored breath.  As her breathing grew steadily more labored and louder, we wondered if we would keep our vigil all night.  After all, there were three of us and we could take turns.  But really nobody wanted to leave her in her last hours even though the doctors weren’t sure if she would last for a few more hours, a few more days or a week.  Steadfastly, we remained and received the honor of being with her when she passed away.  Her last breath shook her body and then all stilled in the ICU.  We waited, looking at each other expectantly waiting for her to draw her next breath.  I looked through the glass door to see her doctor look at me with sad eyes.

“I think she just took her last breath,” one of us said as the three of us huddled together around her now lifeless body.

We said prayers for Anna, tears streaming down our faces, holding hands across the bedsheets as we stood around her bedside.  We told her how much we loved her, what a great life she had lived and how we hoped that Jesus had come to take her home after her well-lived life journey.  We promised to take care of our other Aunt whom she loved.  We murmured gentle reminders of happier memories which are pinned on our hearts.  We promised her that we would take her to be buried with her parents as she wished.  We told her over and over how much we had loved her ~ just like we had done when she was alive.

Quietly one of the nurses slipped in after about 15 minutes and he confirmed that her heart had stopped beating and that indeed that had been her last breath here on Earth.  Silently we watched as he disconnected her from the machines which had given her medicines to comfort her during her last hours.  With much respect for her and for us, he only spoke when we asked him a question.  We needed a few more minutes to allow the reality of what we had just experienced, to sink into our hearts and minds.  We had been with her as she crossed over, just as the 3 of us had been there when my Dad’s heart stopped beating.

It’s a bonding experience for those who are honored to be with a loved one as they pass away.  Sissy, Mom and I have been together twice now and I will say, it’s not for the faint of heart.  Tears pour down our cheeks as we realize the enormity of what we have just experienced together ~ witnessing a loved one’s body stop living.

And I wonder how it must feel to have no pain, no worries and be able to rejoice and to embrace love, light and God’s goodness all at once?  I wonder if she knew we were there and she was not alone?  I wonder that even though her brain had died, could she still hear us and if she knew that we were there with her?

I miss hearing Anna’s voice and seeing her.  I miss her eagle eyes that always caught me as a child if I did something naughty (which wasn’t often mind you!)  I miss the loving being that she was here on Earth for me.  I hope she knows that she is resting permanently next to her parents as was her request and our mission accomplished.  But I feel her more now I think ~ I feel a presence which when I get quiet feels like a friend who’s watching out for me.  Perhaps an added angel over my shoulder?  I could surely use a bit of heavenly strength right about now.

So this post today is for you Anna ~ 84 years young, you lived your life the way you wanted to and we were proud to say you were our Aunt.  Surely you’ve seen/heard our Dad already, because knowing him, he’s part of the welcoming committee with St. Peter, calling out your name loudly and probably swinging on the Pearly Gates!  Rest in Peace dear Aunt Anna and Dad too.  You live on in our hearts.

Shine On!



39 thoughts on “Watching a Life Expire

  1. I am sorry for your loss my friend. You’ve shared this with such grace and I can only hope I have it within me to see the light within it all when my father passes. You give me hope that perhaps I can. xoxo

  2. You can dear Rhonda because I believe that when we pass, we go to the light that is filled with happiness, love and serenity. What a blessing I believe to be at peace ~ it is those that we leave behind who suffer our loss, but if those who are still alive could understand the feeling of oneness and angelic love, we wouldn’t be sad, but instead be happy for our loved one who is now with God. It isn’t easy. I remember when my Dad passed away. It is hard to be the ones left behind, but one day it will be our turn too. May you always have peace ~ enjoy your Dad’s presence here and now. Make memories, tell him you love him (which I am sure you are doing) and make some videos/photos of him so that you can always hear his voice. ♥♥♥

    • I wish I’d thought to make those videos Yvonne…he can no longer speak, nor see. I will always hear his laugh, no matter how much time goes by, so I shall hang onto that. I’m headed back up this weekend, to stay with him until the end. If all I can do is hold his hand, than that’s what I will do, and tell him not to be afraid, it’s all going to be alright. ♥

  3. I once had someone tell me that people choose who they have with them when they pass. You witnessed an amazing moment with your mom and sister. You are right it is not for the faint at heart but Anna knew you were there and that was a comfort for her. Bless you and talk soon. Xoxoxo

  4. So sorry! I was there when my Dad crossed over as well, and was indeed and honor to be there. I can tell you from experiences I have had since the 6 years that he is gone, that you definitely DO have an extra angel watching over you! <3<3

  5. Yvonne you had me in tears, I am sorry for your loss. i agree it is a blessing to be there when our loved ones leave us and this experience reminded me of waiting for my dad to make that journey. We whispered to him that it was okay to leave us and that we would take care of mum. My mum lay next to him and woke us when he breathed his last breath we watched the dawn rise up and in a matter of half an hour we felt it when his soul left the room. Life is so sad and yet we need to accept we will all leave here one day. My dad had one of the most peaceful send offs anyone could have and the nurse visited the next day and said it should be so for all of us.

  6. I was with my mom when she passed on. It is a moment one never forgets. I can still remember every detail and sound. That was in 2004. I will remember it forever.

  7. Pingback: Wasting A Mind Away | Misifusa's Blog

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