It's New Years Eve and I am sitting next to Ellen as she rests. The day has been quiet and finally, after another day of rain and gloom, the sun has been shining brightly through the living room window. It's been a long and difficult week so a little sunshine is much appreciated.
Ellen has continued to decline each day. She sleeps most of the time and drinks or eats very little. Her sister, Beth and I tend to her needs. A health care aide comes each day to bath her. Friends and family come and spend time next to her, holding her hand, speaking softly to her. She is treated with such tenderness and love, I know she must feel it in their touch. She is more wakeful in the mornings, more alert and during this time there are fleeting moments when I am sure she feels my presence. Her eyes rarely recognize me, but I know she is comforted by my voice and touch.
This process, transition from life to death, is painful to witness, but it is also a beautiful experience. I feel blessed she has allowed me to be a part of it, to allow me to care, comfort, and stay with her through these past weeks. I am amazed by her strength and comforted in turn by her peaceful acceptance of all that is happening to her body. She has taught me for so long how to truly live every moment and now she is teaching me how to let go. It is such a gift.
I have appreciated, so much, all of your support, kind words and prayers. Your simple messages have brought me comfort when I have needed them most. And I know, I believe, Ellen has heard you all.