She was younger -- late 50's. Loving husband. Devoted teenage kids. She had been battling breast cancer for 15 years. She was determined to the win the battle, but she was losing. The day she decided to go on hospice was the day she decided she would take no more treatments. She was tired. She only wanted comfort care.
As her social worker, it was one of my goals to help her to find the peace in that decision. She was terrified of dying. With the support of the hospice team, she was able to come to terms with it as the end of her life on earth loomed closer and closer.
I didn't know it would be my last visit, but it was. I entered her bedroom and she was in bed, surrounded by a dozen people who loved her. She was slipping in and out of consciousness. At one point she had her eyes closed, but her expression looked as if she was listening to someone who was teaching her something she had never known before. She was obviously amazed. Her forehead would frown and then raise in wonder and amazement. Over and over again.
All of a sudden she went quiet. We all looked intently at her. We watched for her breath to come. It did. She slowly opened her heavy eyes, looking around the perimeter of her bed at each and every face that was looking back at her. No one said a word.
"I am loved and protected," she said earnestly, dreamily. "Don't worry about me. I am safe.... I am so safe." She closed her eyes and she was gone.
Gone From Our Sight.