by Wanda McManaway, HPCCR volunteer
On January 14, 2012, I was going down the hall of a skilled nursing facility to visit my patients. A panicked nurse saw my hospice badge and stopped me. She requested I please go a certain room because the family knew their mother was getting really close to dying and needed support.
WHEW!! I ask the Lord to help show me the way.
It was dark, but walking into the room was a peaceful and wonderful experience. There were three people in the room (mother, daughter, and son). Mrs. M., the frail woman lying in the bed, had a pink prayer shawl on her lap. Her family had placed a picture of Jesus on her chest as well as a beautiful wooden cross. A worn Bible was opened to Psalm 23.
I learned that she had not opened her eyes in the last two days. Thankfully, her son had made it in time, despite a tough drive through bad weather. His mom knew he was there and spoke to him. He said that she even moved her hand to her head to make sure her hair looked ok. (She was a former hairdresser.)
Her breathing was very shallow and her color was changing. The daughter said she was going to get the nurse but I told her to stay. I would go and get her. I came back to the room and saw Mrs. M. open her eyes just a little, take four breaths, and pass away peacefully.
This was my first hospice death experience. As a result, I’ll always remember a few special things:
1) I just happened to be walking down the hall to visit one of my patients. Mrs. M. was not a patient of mine. 2) The peace that had filled the room when I went in was a wonderful experience. 3) Everything was in place — Mrs. M., her children, the picture, the cross, and the Bible.
Her death was very peaceful, and after they knew their mother had made her heavenly journey, they cried and kissed her several times, hugged her, and then turned to me and hugged me and thanked me for being there. Turns out, Mrs. M. had been a hospice volunteer for 20 years.Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, end of life, hospice, volunteering comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.