We've Only Just Begun

We've Only Just Begun
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Gift of ONE MORE DAY

How many of us have watched someone we love suffer for too long? They have spent weeks, months, years, declining and then, right after we make the decision to let them go, they surprise us by having a really good day?! It can throw us for a loop.   


One night Grady pee-ed all over our bed.  Our bed was also our "den," and any dog knows you don't dirty your den. This is how sick she was, to not be able to honor that. She was 14.  She had been incontinent(and arthritic and going blind and deaf over the years). Kate said to her that night, "I can't keep doing this." Kate was so tired from cleaning up after her and carrying her everywhere. Nonetheless, she did it for another two years.  It was all because she was waiting for God to call for Grady because she didn't want to have to make The Decision. 

She ultimately contacted the vet and scheduled euthanization for Monday. Sunday night we all slept on the floor with Grady instead of bringing her up onto our bed like we always did. It was the first time in many nights that she didn't get up every hour. She slept the whole night through! She got up in the morning, went outside with me with a wag in her tail! She gave a playful little awkward jump when I teased her... and she ate all of her breakfast! We couldn't believe it. Our hearts were full. 

It would be easy to second-guess whether we were doing the right thing, to move forward with the plans for the day. Maybe if we just slept on the floor with her every night she'd sleep through the night.... maybe this, maybe that, maybe, maybe, maybe...



Fortunately, our experience working with people on hospice reassured Kate. We had seen it over and over again in our therapy work. Many times people linger on their deathbeds; their breath is slowing, their feet are turning blue... and then all of a sudden one day, they rally back! Where they were confused they are now lucid. Those who were lethargic are miraculously alert and clear for the first time in a long time. They give us the impression that they are not dying after all! Oh everyone is so excited! They are clearly turning a corner and they will be well again! Our prayers have indeed been answered! 

Then, in 12 or 24 or more hours, they pass peacefully. It is not this way for everyone, but this has happened often in Kate's thirty years of experience. It matters not the age or the condition or the setting. I think perhaps it is one final chance for the body to have its Swan Song. When we know we can never do something again that we've always done, we always want to do it one more time. Sometimes that's what the final day is for. It gives us a chance to have one more time around before we transform into something else.   


"One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied..." 
(Click Here to listen to the song by Diamond Rio)