Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Life, Death, Life: Tuesday's Reflection

I made the bed, took a shower and dressed, and when my phone rang, I answered it. The daughter of dear friends asked if Bruce, a hospice doc, could join them at the hospital this morning. We had been with them the day before and could see that life on earth was coming to an end for our friend. 

Bruce dressed quickly and left, and I went to our daughter's house to be with our grandson before school. He told me all about the movie he saw over the weekend and also about items for his Christmas list. I admit I only listened with half an ear and even less heart, for I was thinking about our friend approaching death.

Bruce texted me to come later in the morning, and since out of town friends would be coming later to stay the night before flying east to their family, I returned home briefly to clean a bathroom and make a grocery list. 

I drove to the hospital and joined Bruce and our dear friends. The vigil had started. Our friend was comatose. Tears flowed, but so did the stories. Someday I will write more about our amazing, one of a kind friend, but not today. 

And then he died. Peacefully, but all of a sudden he was no longer alive. No matter how one prepares that moment is still shocking, stunning.  

We stayed with our friends, and other friends and family arrived. Phone calls were made. We clung to each other, but also drifted apart for our own initial moments of grief. We saw our friend, now a widow, in a new light, a different stage of her life, one she had not known even moments before. 

At some point it was time to leave. Bruce drove home to do his  part time online hospice work, and I drove to the grocery store where the parking lot was jammed with Thanksgiving shoppers. Before facing the crowd, I checked messages and discovered a friend had sent me a video of the St Olaf Choir singing "Beautiful Savior" in a mall. Oh, how I needed that. 

I pushed my cart up and down the aisles, filling my basket, even though we are not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. The check out clerk asked, "How are you today?" and I wondered what she would say if I answered truthfully, "I am not so good. In fact, I am terribly sad, for a good friend died today."

But I just said, "Fine." I had a pleasant conversation with the man who took my groceries to the car. We wished each other a happy Thanksgiving, and I got in my car and drove home. 

Life. Death. Life.

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