In the space between living and dying, there is life as we know it.

It is early morning. Outside my bedroom window, I hear the quiet meowing of Marley the Great Cat. As the weather warms, he likes to spend the night outside, sleeping under the sheltering branches of the birch tree in our backyard.

Until around 4am that is. Then, he likes to sit outside my window, meowing in the hopes of waking me up.

It inevitably works.

I get up, no matter the hour, and let him in.

Though this morning, he managed to awaken my sister who is staying with us while in Calgary visiting our mother in the hospital.

Our mother is in that twilight time of living in this moment passing into that space where the moments are no longer here.

She is alert. She likes to get dressed in the morning with the help of her nurses. She likes to put on her own make-up and then, be moved from her bed to a wheelchair where she spends her days, sitting beside the window.

Outside her window, where once the view was of the distant peaks of the Rockies, she now has a red brick wall to look at.

She laughs about her view. Thinks its funny to only see a red brick wall.

I wonder if it reminds her of her life that is quickly changing its course from being amongst the living to being in that other place where life is no longer here on Earth.

She sits in her wheelchair, does her WordFind puzzels, watches TV and eat her meals, as long as the food is minced. She chats with whomever comes in, and in particular, flirts with the males who enter.

She’s good at that, our mother. Flirting. Always has been.

A beautiful woman all her life, she perfected the art of making men (and women too but I notice it particularly with men) feel welcome, important, special.

She loves it when my beloved, C.C., comes to visit. She smiles and treats him extra special, like his coming to visit is the best thing that ever happened, at least that day.

It’s very sweet to see her so animated, so committed to making him feel special when she’s the one lying in a hospital bed.

My sister and I chatted about mom’s state of being this morning.

About the uncertainty of her days to come. Concern for what happens next.

“It has to be frustrating,” my sister said as we stood in the kitchen sipping coffee in the pre-dawn quiet of early morning. “To feel so helpless. To not know what’s coming next.”

Yesterday, Anne offered to take our mother for a walk around the hospital. She was working with a nurse’s aide to rig up the IV onto the wheelchair when the head nurse came in and vetoed the idea. “We don’t want to risk her having a cardiac arrest somewhere in the hospital,” the head nurse said.

Well that’s reassuring. Not.

The sepsis that has invaded mom’s bloodstream continues to fight against the antibiotics they are pouring into her system.

The question remains, which will win?

At almost 95, it is a precarious battle. The winner unknown except, we know she has little resiliency to fight against anything, especially something as insidious as an infection seeking to claim her red blood cells as its own.

I see it in how she flirts with male visitors. She wants to be ‘normal’, she wants to act like life will continue on as one big adventure.

And she is losing the battle. Her heart isn’t in it. She’s tired.

Life is taking its natural course. Like a river flowing to the sea, it continues on, gracefully flowing around obstacles in its course, embracing them in its never-ending journey towards release into the great body of water that awaits it at some distant point upon the horizon. And as it gathers volume, its waters become deeper, more silent, more accepting of the flow, moving ever more gracefully towards the great sea beyond.

Our mother’s life is like that river. She continues to be in and of its flow, embracing what comes along her path, gracefully breathing into each moment, effortlessly letting go of each breath, moment by moment. And with each passing moment, she settles gracefully into the depths of knowing, her life is moving towards that giant sea where she will once again be united with those she has loved, and lost, upon her journey.



18 thoughts on “In the space between living and dying, there is life as we know it.

  1. Here is a blog I follow, thought you might like this. She writes so eloquently about her mother and life in general.



    Sent from Outlook


    Liked by 1 person

  2. mzunguko wa maisha – Swahili for ‘the circle of life’; and hakuna matata which means ‘no worries’. But of course you worry, and so does your mother – you just worry about different things. All she has left, and I saw this with my dad in hospital with severe sepsis that would not respond to the nuclear strength antibiotics; when you are helpless and weary, the only thing you can control is your spirit and how people see you. Your mother wants to be seen as ‘her old self’ as much as she can and keep her dignity … and what more could we want to anyone’s swan song …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The river to the sea. A lovely expression of the end of life. This is beautiful: “Our mother’s life is like that river. She continues to be in and of its flow, embracing what comes along her path, gracefully breathing into each moment, effortlessly letting go of each breath, moment by moment.” In a way, it sounds peaceful. Sending positive thoughts to you and your family, Louise. Your mother sounds like an amazing and strong woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny, joyous is not a word I associate with my mother, but as I read your words Mary, I thought, yes, is has been joyous — in so very many ways. Thank you for that. You’ve shifted the frame for me to see how much joy there has been in my mother’s life. She suffered deeply from depression most of her life — and my memories of that cloud my vision of today — where joy abounds. Thanks! ❤


  4. Your mother’s journey and yours is a thread in this great tapestry we all share. Your words touched me deeply and her experiences and yours ripples everywhere. I send comfort and guidance to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your mom’s attitude. I love how she makes people feel special. You inherited that Louise. I’m thinking if it were me, I’d take for a walk outside, a nice change from the red wall. ❤ Hugs for you and your sister. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Diana — my mother taught all three of her daughters well the art of creating welcoming spaces — it is a lovely gift she leaves with each of us. And yes, I’d take a walk outside too! Unfortunately, yesterday, she couldn’t stand, even with the help of two nurses. The journey flows onwards. Hugs my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so eloquently written and portrays your mother as an incredibly kind woman who is still making people feel special in the dusk of her own journey… May you find comfort in sharing these days with her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Mari. My mother is, above all else, kind. Always has been. It was something she instilled in all three of her daughters — the imperative of being kind. I am really grateful — and I thank you for your soothing words. ❤


  7. I had that space with my mother and, whilst difficult at the time, was a wonderful time to have with her to look back on rather than her being snatched away suddenly. I am glad you and your sister have each other to lean on through this and I am thinking of you both. Louise, i wish you and your Mum and your sister peace and calm at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your words Elizabeth. You reminded me that yes, this time is a gift. Our father passed away suddenly — and we never had this opportunity to simply be together sharing times of laughter and joy, remembering. Thank you for your thoughts and well-wishes. Peace and calm are lovely watchwords for this time. Much love. ❤


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