Waiting — Stolen Hours

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I have been around death more times than I’d like to remember. My Aunty Lee was given her death sentence in early January of this year—two to three weeks to live – suddenly, out of the blue, after a random visit to the doctor, complaining about occasional stomach aches.

It’s now mid-April, and up until the last week, that iron woman was still laughing and talking with us, albeit with fading energy, and yet never with a mention of her impending fate. Her favourite things she had left to look forward to were visits from her loved ones, and eating, yes eating. She craved delicious meals, her only want in her palliative state.

My sister and I visit her regularly, as well as her two pillars that are always by her side; her daughter and granddaughter. With each visit we all like to bring her something tasty, something for her to look forward to. In these past few days, she’s lost her passion for food and the desire to speak.

I’ve witnessed all the stages, too many times, from living, to the preparation for the journey into the next world. The appetite diminishes, words become less frequent, but most of all, the light begins to subside from their eyes. These are some of the signs that tell me the journey to the other side is in commencement.

 

Many people, including myself, get antsy—that uncomfortable feeling within of helplessness, when we no longer feel that there is anything satisfactory enough we can do to make our ill loved ones comfortable. We have only to go by what we know of them; their habits, facial expressions, the type of smile they may give us, or the moments of their spawned tears, to decipher what they are feeling. We remind them how much we love them, and we are gifted in those precious moments when they utter a word to us; especially when they say your name and tell you once again, that they love you, in the midst of their long silences.

 

I can sense my aunt’s humility of her situation, although she never once complained. Her conversations with us now begin to fade mid-sentence, with limited strength to speak, leaving us pondering what it is she wants to say. It is so very sad to watch, and often when I’m there, I feel like fleeing while my heart aches for her demise. I don’t want to be part of it. It hurts to watch my aunt become a former shell of herself. But each time I feel that urge, I think about how much more my aunt doesn’t want to be enduring it herself. And so I stay.

 

I sit and watch her and replay all the good times with her. I speak with her in hopes that she may engage me back with conversation, or that I can at least offer her conversation. Yet, at the same time, I struggle with my curiosity, wondering if I’m infringing on her quiet moments as I natter on about insignificant things.

Sometimes my aunt will take herself out of her silent trance and mention the name of a dead loved one; a sister or brother, or her lost child. She then asks when one of them are coming to visit her. I believe this is the stage where the journey begins to the other world. It feels to me as though my aunt has one foot here on earth and the other in heaven. Perhaps her loved ones are calling for her as they await her arrival.

These are some of the things I’ve witnessed quite a few times, and though I have no confirmation that it is so, I truly believe. I am honoured that my cousin had asked me to write a eulogy. It was a painful thing to do, and something I had never undertaken. But I am grateful that I get to share all of my aunt’s wonderful qualities, and strengths from the hurdles she overcame in her life – the important things for her to be remembered by.

 

 

I don’t know all that is rolling around my aunt’s head as she lay in silence most of the day now, even with eyes wide open. In my sixth sense sort of way, and with my empathy, I feel her gratitude for us loving her, her sadness to leave her family, her fear of the unknown, and her desire now to be let go.

 

I’ve written a poem here depicting what I sometimes feel she is thinking.

 

Tick tock goes my soul,

Halfway there, no longer whole.

I see a world full of love here, yet I’m lost in the past,

The time to leave – the now, is approaching fast.

My vibrant eyes once expressed delight,

Are tired now, no longer shine my inner light.

Embodied in a physical shell,

A mere existence from a life I once felt.

My heart so filled with love does keep me here,

I have nothing left to offer, but the occasional tear.

I feel the tug of heaven’s call,

I must go soon, I love you all.

 

D.G. Kaye ©April 2015

D.G. Kaye

DGKayewriter.com Copyright 2017

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D.G. Kaye @dgkayewriter.com

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29 Comments

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  1. Oh my dear Debby. My chest aches and I’m fighting this lump in my throat that wants to give in to a bawl. I guess that’s the sign of someone who understands, who has been there. Your Aunty Lee is certainly a fighter. Supposed to go in January, yet, obviously, she was going to set her own timetable. She had more loving to give, more yummy treats to ingest. I’m glad you got the extra time with her, that your move allowed that.
    No one can put together loving words like you, Debby. As hard as writing that eulogy is, it was a task only you could do. Aunty Lee will be so proud. That lump in my throat isn’t going to hold out. A thousand ((hugs)) for you. <3

    1. Mandy, thank you for your kind words. Once again, I am shedding my own tears. You know very well how cathartic it is for us to release pent up emotions, and I thank you so much for your time and your heartfelt words. <3

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt. I lost a dear aunt back in 2009.

    1. Thank you Erica, for sharing. And, I’m sorry for your loss.

  3. Debby this was a difficult read….. And still my throat is constricted as I read through your emotions and so have been witness to the signs of letting go of this world as the next one gains a threshold..
    My own Aunts passing still raw from January.. Having nursed my Father also through his final stages my heart is with you my friend.. So many parallels within our lives..

    My love is with you, and I know your Aunt knows she has yours and your families love..
    Blessings to you Deb..
    <3 Love Sue xxx

    1. Once again I thank you Sue for sharing your heart and your wise words. Isn’t it funny how you and I met through Christy, and our leaves really do seem as though they’ve crossed similar avenues.
      Thank you my friend. <3

      1. Yes I often find kindred spirits have similar experiences.. <3 sending you Love at this time Deb… Big hugs your way x

        1. Thanks again Sue. And sending you back some your way. xo <3

  4. Debby, what a gift you have been given to witness your dear aunt enter into another world.
    You say in your post: “as I natter on about insignificant things.”
    I believe that nothing is insignificant in those moments just as everything is insignificant.
    Your poem is absolutely lovely. I wish you and your family courage and love. <3

    1. Thanks so much Carol for your warm wishes. I suppose it is a gift, as hard as it is to watch. I never seem to be comfortable in these situations. And yes, you are right, some think because she chooses not speak that she can’t hear. This is a big misconception by many people. I’ve become quite good at reading faces and body language through the years and I know that my aunt hasn’t missed a beat. And so, I continue to natter, for it deafens the silence. <3

  5. Incredibly moving post. Your aunt is so lucky to have such love in her life, as are you and your family. I believe your description of the transition/journey from life to death could actually help people who are witnessing it now with someone they love so I hope this post is widely shared (I will share it for sure.). I watched my father die in my den (his choice) and I can only say while it was deeply sad it was also beautiful in many ways. I hope she goes in peace.

    1. Thanks Debby, for visiting and leaving your personal story. As a writer, it’s easier for me to write out what’s circling my head to help myself release my thoughts. I hope by sharing my intimate moments that I may just help someone. Thanks so much for sharing.
      I’m sorry for the loss of your father. <3

      1. I am absolutely sure you help people.

        1. <3

  6. Oh Debby, this is so beautifully written. The strongest characters and deepest souls take time for their light to pass over. I feel your love and empathy as you are there for your Aunt. Soft hugs for her in these days, for you and for all her family. Love is the song heard through your words and actions and love never dies. <3 xXx

    1. Hi Jane. Thank you so kindly for your words of comfort and wisdom. xo <3

  7. I don’t have much to add, but I must say your poem shows how close you were to your Aunt and how well you knew her. Bravo. <3 <3 <3

    1. I sure do Tess. I’ve just returned from visiting her. It was her 77th birthday today. It’s nearing the end now. I wish God would take her already, as I’m sure she does. <3

      1. Bless you for being such a good niece. <3

        1. <3

  8. Such a heartfelt and poignant post…. Thanks for being so open as to this tough topic… Your words might lit up many hearts and minds in need, dear D.G.
    All my best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    1. Thanks Aq for your always heartfelt words and compassion. <3

  9. you’ve touched my heart with your impressive and emotional post, dear Debby aka Lady Big Heart…
    * * *
    I love Meryl Streep’s photo and quote… I have no problem with my age and the passing years, ’cause it’s a rare privilege denied to many people… I think that youth and happiness are a matter of state of mind and imagination… I do agree with Vincent Scotto:”My age?… irrelevant question, even if I knew it, I wouldn’t believe it!” 🙂
    * * *
    my very best, courage, serenity and HHH = huge heartfelt hugs… Mélanie

    1. Hi Melanie! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and kindness here as always. And your words are very appropriate, especially the phrase from Vincent Scotto, “My age? . . .”, which I just recently read in one of your last week’s posts. We shall be grateful for the gift of life, and as I commented on your post and you repeated on mine, aging is a privilege! xoxo <3

  10. I’m sorry, Debby. I love the line in your poem about nothing left to offer. I also feel that wherever we’re going seems to be a welcoming place for those who need to leave depleted suffering bodies. Seems there is plenty of death to go around if we’re willing to step up to witness and hold people at that time. Thank you for offering that.
    Wishing you and your aunt peace.

    1. Thanks again Elaine for sharing your wisdoms here. Unfortunately you know this scenario only too well. <3

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