Death is not a true end, it is just another arc on the Spiral that is Life.
Of course, that doesn’t really help with the pain those of us left behind have to deal with, usually. At the time, we are too caught up in our own sense of loss to really keep that in mind: that the one gone feels no more pain, has learned the lessons of this life time, and has moved on to better things.
My aunt is dying. There is nothing that can be done to reverse the process. All they can do is keep her comfortable now. My mother is there, and her oldest two children, and some of her grandchildren. That may be a comfort to her. I know she wanted Mom there. She wanted her brother and her two closest cousins to know what was going on. That’s my job: relaying the news to Florida, Colorado and DC.
I’m not unfamiliar with death. My father, my grandparents, other relatives and friends have already made that journey Beyond. Some deaths were sudden, some were not. I am still not sure which hurts more: the sudden absence of a loved one after a massive heart attack or accident, or watching someone linger in pain for days or weeks, unable to really let go, for whatever reason. I think, based on what I have been told, my aunt is afraid. My grandmother waited until my uncle, her youngest, was able to say he could let go. My father was gone before any of us realized what was happening.
In this case, I am selfish. I want it over swiftly, because I want my mother home with me and the Kidling and the dog. As much as I say I want my aunt to be pain-free, that is my real reason: the selfish one. If it were my mother in the hospital, I doubt I would be so … willing to let go. I dread the day I lose my mother. I was far too lost when I lost my father to want to walk that path again soon.
Yes, I know I don’t completely lose those I have loved. Memories are precious things. And sometimes, I still feel the presence of those who have gone on before me.
But right now, my aunt is dying. And all I want is to hold my mother close, and have her home. I want to stop sharing my bed with the dog who misses her to the point she won’t let me out of her sight willingly. I want my cousin to get some rest, and be able to focus on her children, two of whom are special needs toddlers. I want my cousin’s oldest girl to be able to go out with her friends and relax for a few hours without feeling guilty, or having to rush home because her grandmother has had a bad turn, and needs to be watched over.
There are times to fight death; to rage against it with all that is inside, and push it back. Then there are times to welcome death like an old friend. My aunt, for the most part, is alone. Not unloved, but … she has pushed so many of those who should be closest to her away. And that is sad, but unchangeable at this point. Her body is failing her, HAS failed her. I am not being callous when I say it is time for her to let go. Selfish, maybe, but not callous.