Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and decide to make a purchase, I may be monetarily compensated without any additional cost to you. All monies received via affiliate links will be spent on either fabric or tea, both of which fuel my blogging
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
As we’re keeping vigil with my mother-in-law in her last days, life has slowed to a crawl. Every breath could be her last, and we’re just watching and waiting as the clock ticks on. A friend of mine who has lost both a parent and a child recommended a book to me in this difficult time, and it has helped me feel less helpless. The book is Midwife for Souls: Spiritual Care for the Dying by Kathy Kalina, a long time hospice midwife. I ordered it on Amazon (~$10 or less) and it was a quick but profound read. It was written to assist those who work in hospice settings, but I highly recommend it if you are unfamiliar with the physical process of death, struggle with what to say to those who are dying, or just want to learn how to better care for the whole person as they make their way from one world to the next.
Since any discussion of death or life after death is imbued with personal religious convictions, I will quote the author here as she describes her position, which I found was exactly how I would describe mine if I were so articulate: “Let it be known that I am radically, joyfully, one-hundred-percent Roman Catholic. Please don’t take the zeal I have for my faith as disrespect for yours.” Well said.
The book talks about how to help people dying of disease with the unavoidable emotional journey that will take them beyond this world. Helping them mend their own emotional wounds, finish the unfinished business of their lives, and accept what they cannot change about past relationships. She goes step by step through signs and symptoms of impending death, something I found to be a popular search term when I was trying to educate myself about what this would look like in practical terms. I am grateful that the book empowered me to put into words and actually say things to my MIL while she could still hear and comprehend me. I was able to tell her about what a positive impact she has had in my life, and how much I love her and will miss her.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9