His Last Breath

heaven free wp death

Before my first child was born, I keenly remember the moment when I desperately felt like giving up.  Not managing my pain well, I wanted the unbearable process to stop.  I literally wanted to quit, pack up and go home.  However, it was a blessed event that was irreversible and forever life-changing.  There was no stopping the process once it had started.  The only way out was through.

Contractions in my lower back, coupled with my first-time-mom fear-of-the-unknown, made it nearly impossible to relax and surrender into childbirth.  After pushing for over two hours, the doctor finally asserted he was stepping in to use forceps and assist in the delivery.

A few minutes later, our son was delivered and took his first breath.

Sitting by my father’s bed, I witnessed his laboring.  Cycles of shallow breathing, weakened pulse, and peaceful pauses, were interrupted with what felt like excruciating labor pains.  Wincing and moaning, he journeyed through an endless rhythm of contractions as he prepared to leave his body.  At the moment we thought he was delivered into the peaceful embrace of death, another wave of un-surrendered life had him laboring for enough breath to get him through the next contraction.

Flashes of that moment – giving birth so long ago – grabbed my attention.  I saw my father in an arduous dance within the portal of death, managing his own labor and delivery.  I recognized myself sharing his fatigue and resistance.  He had labored for hours.  Fear of the unknown lingered in the room. With compassion, I wanted the process to stop.  In my discomfort, I prayed for a quick and easy delivery.  I observed myself in my own self-induced-suffering, not wanting him to suffer.  But I knew this was another one of those blessed events that was irreversible and forever life changing.  He had to go through it.  I could choose to experience his death in a limited state of separation, resistance and pain; or I could shift my reality and open to the expansive, sacred knowing of this BLESSED MOMENT.

I paused, took a deep breath, and tuned-in to the resonant love in the room.  I called on my higher self and quickly discovered a cosmic harmony within the life cycle of birth and death. My Essential Self witnessed this eloquent process and myself within it. The mystical doors of the Universe opened, as I experienced the tremendous grace and deep meaning in the Holy process.  Instead of fear, pain and suffering, I found peace.  I was handed a precious gift and consciously chose to claim and receive it.  I stepped through my own portal of embodied consciousness and became fully present.  Surrendering, I relaxed into the process and became one with it.

Death was my father’s journey.  We all wanted to be there for him to support and comfort him.  We desired a peaceful resolution.  However, this was his delivery and only he could labor through the process and move through the transcendent birth/death canal.  This was work of the soul.  He, alone, had to go through this narrow portal to deliver himself.

The Hospice nurse, Lisa, in her palliative wisdom, intuited the same thing.  She kindly invited us to step away and rest in another room for a while, allowing my dad to fully expand into his sacred work.  We were all there with loving intentions to support him in the process.  Yet, our roles as wife and daughter perhaps kept him in a place of resistance and emotional interference, keeping him in his earthly role as husband and father.  It was time for him to release himself and give birth to the celestial role of his greater essence.

Her gentle suggestion was the perfect healing balm.  The short time of physical separation, assisted in his ability to relax and surrender. Having us step away allowed a Heavenly Mid-wife, with divine forceps, to step in and assist.  He let go, moved through the portal, and finally found peace.

A few minutes later, my dad was delivered and took his last breath.

Love Whispers from My Dad

hands loving

On this Valentine’s Day, I sit beside my father’s hospital bed at 3:30 a.m.  He sleeps restlessly through the pain in an incoherent state of tolerance.  I put my hand on his hand, and without missing a beat, in his sleep, he whispers, “I love Yaaahz.”  He softly winces and moans then becomes quiet again.

In the middle of the family room, he is bundled under layers and layers of blankets, hand-stitched quilts, and crocheted throws, with his left foot hanging out of the covers on purpose.  I’m sitting on a folding chair next to his bed with my own layers of pajamas, a sweater, and a vest.  We are both warm and uncomfortably cozy, under the circumstances.  Through his irregular breathing, wincing and moaning, whether asleep or lucid, he continues to whisper messages of love: “I love you, oh how I love you.” Moans of pain, his cough, and the sweet sound of his love-whispers become a new kind of clock, marking time as it passes in the middle of the night.

He wakes himself up with a loud, grimacing noise.  I put my hand on his shoulder and he quiets down.  Gently, the sound of the Home Oxygen Concentrator and a loving presence, rocks him back to his shallow rest, but not before he sends out more love, “Ahhh… I loves ya, Jules.”

“I love you too, Dad.” I quietly reply.

In the darkness, with the dim light of my computer, I reflect on what a beautiful Valentine this is.  I am soaking in the bittersweet, merciful love of his last days. I am communing in the grace-filled resonance as he creates discordant music with his breath.  This love is infinitely real and deep, delivered in a delirious container of pain.  The benevolent moment is so precious.

A whimper, then a loud groan brings me back into the moment.  It’s time to roll over.  We work together to find a comfortable position on his left side, prop pillows in the perfect places, and rearrange the covers.  “How’s that, dad?”

“Oh, its good… its good until its not,” he says and quietly drifts back into the feverish abyss of his restless reality.  The whispers, moans, and cough continue into the early morning hours.  And time passes…

He wakes again with an unpleasant howl, “OH-Oooohhh-OH!” then quietly, “I love you, honey.”

“I love you too, Dad.  Can I get you something for the pain?” I ask.

“Oh, no…  I’m okay.  It hurts more everywhere than anywhere.”  He answers in his kind way, then turns to me, “Why don’t you go lay down in the recliner and try to get some sleep?”

I reply, “I’m okay, Dad.  I’m sitting here writing love letters on my computer.”

“Ah… that’s good! Real, real good,” He replies with enthusiasm, “I LOVE YOU!”

“I know, Dad.  I love you too.” I whisper in gratitude.  And time passes…