We don’t often talk about the beauty of death because pain and finality takes precedence.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt drained, emotionally and physically. Each day rolls into the next bringing fourth such an array of difficult emotions and to lose someone that I love dearly and in such a short amount of time is just devastating.
No time at all.
Making every day count is essential; oh… how I get that now! Experience all that you want to experience and truly know the absolute joy of being alive.
The hospice nurse explained that we would notice changes in his breathing, reminding us that he could hear us and that it was all okay, as she softly touched Bro on his shoulder.
It was okay-dying was okay-do not be afraid.
We asked if more morphine could be administered due to him appearing agitated as one arm would lift and drop to the bed, then the other, he would moan and slightly move his head. This happened several times.
Was he trying to communicate with us?
What did I miss?
Why didn’t I know and understand more after everything I had learn’t and read over the years?
Realizing now, the level of high expectation I always put on myself.
My mind constantly chatted to him, telling him things that I felt, he needed to hear and things that needed to be said between us.
A mutual forgiveness!
It was surreal, like a movie scene playing with us in it, but not of it-if that makes any sense?
Nothing seems to make much sense right now as the words fall from my mind and my fingers tap each letter on the keyboard.
I’ll just keep typing.
We wanted him to feel calm, pain free and safe.
Can you even feel safe when you are dying?
Was God with him?
At some point Mum laid his over sized silver and blue crucifix under his right hand and the Reverend said that God was near by, calling him home.
Morphine was given three times throughout the night, which I think I instigated, by sharing my thoughts with the others. I’m proud of the way we remained courteous to each other with regards to Bro on those occasions when making the decision to call the administering nurse, back into the room.
It was a time to tune into my internal all knowing, in order to do the right thing for Bro and I guess it’s something that could weigh heavily on my mind, if I allowed it to.
Mum broke down at one point and felt like she was murdering him by asking them to feed the driver with a stronger dosage and I had to reassure her several times that it was the best thing for him in order for to feel comfortable.
Just heartbreaking for her and for us too-poor Bro bless him, he probably wanted us all to bugger off and stop being so dam miserable.
His son, slept in the recliner for a couple of hours in the early part of the morning and that’s something I struggled with! Wouldn’t you want to spend every lasting second with the man that raised you knowing you’d never see him again?
My step father for 27 years.
A judgement on my behalf I know and I choose to keep that judgement right now as for the past two years, his son had written him out of his life and wasn’t interested at all.
The judgement will pass in time.
I knew that I couldn’t close my eyes and wouldn’t, no matter how exhausted I was. I had to honor his last breath and acknowledge this man as he returned to a place where he believed was home.
A return to love.
The nurse had told us that once we hear the rasp in his breathing, then it wouldn’t be long before he would pass and waiting for that rasp, was both unbearable and necessary.
How I wanted to hear that rasp, so he would finally be free and selfishly, the waiting was taking it’s toll.
Bro was diagnosed on the 29th of July, without his family to support him, sunk into a lonely depression.
He was so very afraid and COVID rules mean’t no visiting.
Day by day, Bro struggled to pay for the hospital television and phone system with his debit card with not being tech savvy at all. His calls were in short bursts with lots of tears, cutting off quickly mid sentence.
We couldn’t make head nor tail of what he was trying to say but tried hard to reassure him. It was an impossible situation which was horrendous for him and for us too, hearing his sobs, pleading with us to get him out of there.
I called his hospital bed phone daily-over and over again and couldn’t get through.
I called the ward several times and no one picked up the phone.
I called the elderly social work team several times desperate for help, complaining about the lack of communication. The first social worker who mum and I met, was only on call that weekend and when I tried to get through to her, she had gone on leave. The new one, promised she would call me back that afternoon after a meeting with regards to Bro.
She didn’t call back.
And so on… there’s so much more to say about the lack of, but right now in this very moment, there isn’t much point so maybe another day and another post.
The early morning came and I could see the distinct changes in his face and to me, he looked beautiful almost angelic. His skin was so very soft to touch as I gently stroked his hair across his forehead in the same way that I’d done for hours on and off.
As he breathed, his cheeks sucked in almost like a fish in the open air and it wasn’t labored like I imagined, it was gentle and quiet-just a small rasping sound, seemingly like he would stop at any moment and then another breath would come.
His son and wife stood up now and came close to the left of Bro, as if ready for a standing ovation, without the clapping part of course and Mum sat quietly weeping, holding his hand on his right side. My position was near his head side and his face was tilted our way. I felt it important to give his son the choice of changing places with me.
He declined, for which I am so grateful.
I kissed Bro’s hand and told him that the sun was shining, that I would meet him in his beautiful garden.
I told him that that he was free now, no more pain, struggle, crutches, hospitals nothing-just a free man to feel joy like he had never felt before.
I told him Banjo, his much loved dog who passed some time ago, was waiting for him and oh… what an amazing time they were going to have together.
I spoke to him in my mind and asked him;
“What are you holding on for Bro?”
and then it just came to me, as clear as day-as if he answered straight away!
“He’s telling me it’s too noisy!”
Bro had complained several times about the noise on the hospital ward and his inability to sleep.
The radio had been playing since he arrived at the hospice and the nurses must have put it on because it wasn’t something we had requested or did ourselves. It played quietly in the background. The oxygen machine was loud and as the nurse had said earlier in the evening that it wasn’t really helping him at this stage, so we agreed to have it turned off.
The space became instantly quiet and so very peaceful.
We opened the doors and with the early morning sun, Bro took his last breath.
It was five minutes from turning all the noise off.
There were no tears for me just a feeling of absolute peace and such a deep connection to his spirit. Bro taught me so many lessons right up until he passed and left his body. And that is exactly what he did… he left his heavy weighted, shell of a body behind and walked free. This has been my belief for as long as I was able to understand about life and death but now I have seen it with my own eyes and finally, I understand the lesson in all it’s entirety-it really is just a body and his body was an extremely painful body, a vessel to experience all the things that Bro needed to experience on his journey of life.
It happened the way it was always going to happen, the way it was mean’t to be.
We experienced forgiveness together at the highest level on both our parts.
We experienced love and a profound connection.
We experienced healing together and for that I will always be grateful.
Death can be beautiful if we allow the fear to fall away and remain present to all that is happening around us.
Death can be beautiful and allow you to see things more clearly when they seem so confusing.
Death was peaceful, graceful and beautiful.
I am honored Bro.
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