As I walked up the path to hospice, I noticed a bed with a patient and what appeared to be her family around the bed.   Sure enough, I learned that at the family’s request, the staff (truly, angels work there) moved the patient – bed and all – out into a beautiful, sunny October day.  Over a short 30 minutes, I discovered that their mom – now in her early 90s – had just come to hospice and her adult children were tending the vigil that only those who have stood at the bedside of a loved one understands.

This was a wonderful family.  They told me stories of an amazing women, who having been widowed 35 years ago and and with three children, learned to drive, went back to work and managed to balance the demands of family, finances, and a job – and still have dinner on the table at 6:00 p.m. every night.

I learned of a spirit who remained open, loving and accepting throughout her life and raised three incredible children.  And of children who welcomed her into their homes in her declining and bedridden years.  I heard stories of someone who loved the outdoors, flowers and birds.  

Then I went inside to visit other patients and families; to hear of hopes and dreams – and the sadness of ending life.  Later that afternoon, I was told that the lady who rested peacefully outside with her family had just died.

As I returned to the family, they shared their sadness but also their thankfulness of what just happened.  We stood around their mom’s bed knowing that her spirit had just left for a journey towards light and love and peace.  At the foot of her bed was a blanket of autumn flowers -- and the robins and cardinals that she loved so much enjoyed the water of a close-by fountain and flew to branches overhead.

Like the sun of that fall day amide the beauty of a garden lovingly keep, this incredible family was filled with thankfulness that their mother’s final moments were in a place that had made her the happiest and that they were there to share it with her.


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