I held her hand. I could hear the high concentration of oxygen; she tried to get her hands to the mask that fit snug around her face. I would pull it away to give her a break but only for an instant as her levels would drop quickly. Her eyes would open but no focus. I would talk to her, tell her stories and pray. Her moans were getting weaker and quieter.
I sat looking at her frail body. Her turban style bandana around her head, she never wanted anyone to see her without it. I thought about her twenty month fight….was she losing or was she winning? It bothered me to see the signs of struggle on her face, the frown and labored breathing.
Sarah, my youngest sister was always a little shy but she would speak her mind if she had to. She was simple in her thinking and loved the Lord. The cancer was in her lungs, a direct result of smoking; at forty five she would pay the price. It was so hard to watch, my heart ached.
The nurse came in and asked if I was alright. I nodded my head, yes. She turned off the oxygen and removed the mask from Sarah’s face. I thought how much of a relief that must have been. Her breathing was still rhythmic but shallow and slow.
I sat on Sarah’s bed next to her. I picked up her thin, limp shoulders and cradled her in my arms. Her breaths were so far apart I thought each one was her last. It was almost unbearable.
The tears were flowing freely, sadness and joy.
Then I saw the peace on her face and I knew it was her final breath. I kissed her gently and said “Til we meet again, sweet Sarah.” As her spirit left her I knew she was in the arms of Jesus her soul now quiet.
Her body was empty.
It was loss and celebration.
1 Peter 2:11 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. The Message
Thank you, Teresa, for this honest account. I have been there, as I trod the path of terminal Cancer with my husband. He died in January. Seven months ago, yet still the grief is raw! But there are moments of joy too, and feelings of being connected with him and all those I have loved and lost. Michel Quoist in a prayer wrote "There are no dead people, Lord, only living people in this world and in the next". Writing is such a good way to express and share your feelings - thank you for sharing this with us.
Blessings. Irene Cretchley