And she’s buying a stairway to heaven (home hospice journey #7)

It is done.  We lost our lovely Dianne 1 week ago on Thursday, 5/16, at 10:15am.  Her passing was peaceful – far more so than we dared to hope for with a COPD patient.  She’d had a rough Tuesday night and difficult Wednesday morning but as her day progressed, she gradually slipped into a semi-comatose state by evening, with that rattling sort of breathing that means we’re nearing the end. We settled her in bed and made her as comfortable as possible and settled in to keep watch.  Around midnight, I headed off to bed with the intention of taking over in the morning and letting my husband get some rest.  Once my daughter was off to school (my son saw the writing on the wall, so to speak, and refused to leave), I got settled into place and sent Mike off to get some rest.  

Mostly I hung out bedside and got a bit of work done on my laptop.  Every so often, I’d get up to ensure she was comfortable. I noticed at one point that she was warm and a bit sweaty so took off her socks and bathed her face a bit.  I kept watch on the color of her lips and fingertips and listened to the rhythm of her breathing – mostly so that if anything noticeably changed, I could go get Mike.  None of that happened.  She was breathing one moment and the next, she wasn’t.  There was no gasping, nothing erratic, no sound.  She simply was and then she wasn’t.  I ran to wake up my husband to let him know his mother was gone.

All of the official hustle and bustle of a passing began: hospice was called, the police came, the cremation service notified.  Forms were signed, i’s dotted, t’s crossed.  Once the legalities were complete, Mike laid back down for a bit and I did some straightening up – stripping the bed, packing away clothing and supplies, that sort of thing.  

Things feel a bit unsettled.  Dianne’s wishes were to forego the whole funeral home and service thing and instead transport her ashes as a family to a park in the Bitterroot mountains of Idaho, to be scattered in a place that she loved dearly.  We’ll make that trip later this summer.  In the meantime, the healing needs to begin.  It’s a long road we’ve been on and we all need a bit of rest.  I’m so glad her passing was peaceful and serene. Hopefully she left a bit of that peace and serenity in her wake. 

Thank you all for the support and just for reading. Your presence is felt and appreciated.

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8 thoughts on “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven (home hospice journey #7)

  1. I’m very sorry for you and your family’s loss. I hope the healing and peace comes to you quickly. (((hugs)))

  2. Oh, gosh, if this is one of my hardest losses I can only imagine what it is for you. Teri, when you described the gentleness of her passing…my first thought was, going peacefully into that good night …then gratitude her death was, well, like Dianne, quiet, thoughtful & considerate. My manic soul was eased just being with her. Thinking also how easily we would fall into uncontrollable laughter. I’m seeing perfectly her face, every muscle & nerve in smile mode, tears coursing down her cheeks. If Libby, or maybe Michael Sean would ask us what was so funny, we’d helplessly go off again, incapable of doing anything but laugh. Later, mopping our faces we’d admit it was just something stupid – the listener’s face when we’d tell our funny little story would reflect back, yes, that was stupid…this would result in our going off again, this time taking the other person with us. Dianne was the only friend I shared that kind of total expression of joy with. You know I’ve shared lots of good laughing sprees w/friends. How Dianne laughed, & we laughed together was so distinctly different I shall never forget…I’m looking out a window right now, smiling and thinking, that joy cannot die. And then I take a big AMEN sigh…and shit, I’m messing w/the moment by crying, and she’s laughing with me, no, AT me! Dammit, Dianne, can’ t you take anything seriously?! Which makes her laugh harder and now, I’m joining her. No shit.

    Love you guys, miss you awfully…seems a lousy time to be so far away. But then again, as Dianne just pointed out, we’re not. hugs & kisses.

  3. Hugs to you and your family. Take moments privately and or together to embrace the life and love you shared with Dianne. Her presence will surround you in your everyday lives. Much love to you.

  4. I just read your post again, and it brought tears to my eyes. Again. I hope things are well with you. My wife and I recently set up the arrangements for myself for when my time in hospice is over, and it was really weird to go through that. I can certainly understand Dianne’s wishes regarding the home and services afterward. It sounds beautiful the way you wrote about it. Obviously, it’s sad, but at the same time, it almost sounds happy.

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