When someone is dying …

My Uncle Louis is dying. He would be 88 in September, though his nearly 2 year battle with colon cancer will end his life before then. He has always been a very strong man, very tenacious and optimistic. He has faced every challenge and hardship in his life with a seemingly limitless inner strength that enabled him to start anew each day, and keep moving forward.

Three weeks ago, I put him into an ambulance for the last time. I stayed with him through the night, until he was settled into his room, and it soon became clear that this would be his last trip to the hospital. The following week he was transferred to Hospice, and I didn’t think he would be there for very long. He’s been there now for 10 days, and we don’t know how he continues. Mom (he is her brother) visits him every day, as does his wife of more than 62 years. They are digging deep to find the strength to sit with him. He sleeps and does not appear to be in pain – in fact he actually seems rather peaceful, though his body is wasting away. It is hard to watch, especially for everyone who loves him … most especially for his sister and his wife.

I was thinking about him the other day, and it hit me how apparent his core belief of never giving up is being demonstrated to us at the end of his life. I started thinking about each person I have known that has passed, and in each person I considered, I saw how one of their core beliefs was shown in the last days or phase of life. In each case, an essential part of their nature was very clearly displayed in how they died.

I wonder what will be known of me when my time comes …

Copyright © 2008, Lisa Wagner

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