Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
It was a serious and solemn time for us – the end of my mother’s life on Earth. She had tried every drug and therapy known at the time to kill or stave off the cancer, to no avail. As it ravaged her body, she became unable to walk, even with the assistance of a walker. She had been such a fighter, but now she was telling us she was ready to leave this Earth, and that God was waiting for her. She stated that she didn’t care what we did with her “stuff”. She made some suggestions and said she wanted to go “home”. She had no regrets with her life.
So, we began what can only be called a “death watch”. We soon settled into a schedule whereby my brothers and husband took turns staying with her at night, and my mother-in-law (a nurse) and I stayed with her during the day. Movement was excruciating, and so repositioning was done only to reduce the bed sores and a morphine drip was given for the increasing pain. Going to the bathroom became an exhausting and painful chore, so she was catheterized.
Mom began to separate herself from her earthly life, speaking less and less. She began dreaming or talking to people who had passed on before her. When she did speak, it was in short sentences or words. On one such occasion, she woke up and began pulling on her catheter tube, trying to pull it out. The chemo nurse, Linda, now a friend of my mother’s, was staying on to assist us in her hospice care.
Linda took my mother’s hand and said, “Gloria, leave that alone. It’s your ‘Gucci’ bag.”
My mom opened her eyes and looked down at the bag, and then straight into Linda’s eyes and said, “Well, darling, if that’s my ‘Gucci” bag, then it better match my outfit because God’s waiting for me!”
My mother was dying just as she had lived: embracing life and death with faith, love, and a sense of humor!