In my last post, I talked about being involved with end of life issues with my mom.  Her health had deteriorated sharply, and I went up to be with her on April 16th.  She took her last breath at 8 a.m. on April 23rd.  During those last few days, she was often unresponsive, due to the heavy medication used to keep her pain at bay.  The first few days I was there, though, she had moments of awareness, which allowed her to know that we were all there for her.

My brother, sister, and I spent many hours at her bedside throughout the week.  We were there to help soothe her, and to advocate for her if the need arose.  She was in a facility with many other elderly people, and the nurses were busy with all of their varied responsibilities.  We took it upon ourselves to keep track of when her medications were due, and to make sure that they were given as close to on time as possible.  We, also, reminded them when other comfort measures were required.  We were polite and considerate about making our requests, but we were determined to make whatever time our mom had left, have as much quality as possible.

During the last hour of her life, my brother and his wife, my sister and her son, and my husband and I were all with her.  We were there to help birth her into whatever comes after death.  We talked softly to her and stroked her face.  We assured her that we loved her, and we would all be okay — that she could relax and let go of the struggle she had been waging.  We told her that all of her loved ones who had gone on before her, would be there to greet her.  As she took that last breath, her face relaxed and she looked at peace!

My mom had spent a lifetime being anxious.  She could finally put her worry and emotional pain aside.  The last 15 or so years, she had struggled with varied health issues too.  Her biggest problem was Rheumatoid Arthritis, and all the pain and suffering that comes with that.  Her physical pain was, also, finally left behind.

Our whole family is grateful that she is no longer suffering.  I’m sure the grief will come later, but for now, our main emotion is one of a deep gratitude that her spirit is free, and she’s no longer tied to her fearful mind and tormented body.

Every family, at one time or another, must deal with the death of a loved one.  It helps so much if each person is able to communicate their individual needs, and is able to respond with compassion and caring to the needs of the other family members.  That way no one feels alone with the burden of this emotional time.

Be well, and be sure to let your loved ones know how much you care about them!

Until next time,



  • My thoughts are with you and your family. I lost my mom in August 2012 and I completely remember that feeling that you describe during the last weeks. I felt so lucky to be able to have this rite of passage with my mother. Our mothers gave us life and to be able to nuture them as they end their journey on earth is such a blessing.

    • Thank you, Julie. I’m sorry to hear that you lost your mother. I think your sentiments really echo my feelings, though. I didn’t live near my mom, so I was very grateful that I was able to get up there in time to be with her while she was still aware that I was there. My brother and sister and I talked about just what you said. When we’re born, our mother’s labor to give us life, but at the end, we have to labor ourselves to complete our journey. Being able to help “birth” her into what comes next, was difficult, but a blessing! Thank you for your comment.

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