Bill, Rest in Peace
Shown here with his faithful Lara
when Bill was still well enough to sit up
Remember Bill and Faiza, kids, and their dog, Lara? Some of you have been following my visits to them. I provide them with home support. We have grown very close over the past year, and I knew that I had been sent their way for a reason, that my hospice training and no fear of death would come in handy.
On Thursday I saw that Bill was rallying a little, as folks often do near the end. He wanted water, endless sips of water. The dying feel great thirst - in the end, all one wants is a sip of water. It is our last and strongest desire.
On Thursday, he had his blue eyes open, and gave me his big smile. He even joked a little with the nurses. I knew the call would be coming very soon.
Faiza called me this morning to tell me he passed peacefully at 5 a.m., no choking, strangling, or struggling for breath, mercifully. She told me last night their dog, Lara, so sensitive, so aware of what was going on, sat beside his bed - she hated that hospital bed as it raised him up too high for her to be near him - and she kissed his hand. She knew.
I went over and listened to Faiza talk for a couple of hours this morning, she needed to go over things, to be reassured she did everything she could - and then some - to honor his wishes to die at home. And that she did. Day and night, she stood by his side, helping him clear his lungs, giving him sips of water, her own back and legs in terrible pain. Those two had such a love!
Faiza's friend came to be with her for the day, so I took their poor sad dog for a walk in the forest nearby, then told Faiza I'll come back tomorrow. It was good walking in the forest with Bill's dog.
I may be a basket case when my dog dies, but when it comes to humans dying, I am a handy person to have around. I become strong and steady as a tree, in order to give support and comfort, to get everyone through. My body gets still and sort of feels like a tree trunk. I am not afraid - either to be around death, nor afraid to speak the words of comfort that are needed.
Bill was a gallant gentleman, in his day, in his cream colored suit and jaunty white Fedora. He was the soul of kindness. He and Faiza were married in 1972, and shared a close love such as I have never seen. Faiza said she told him just an hour before he died that if he was worried about her and Lara, to rest assured that they would be all right. She said he relaxed then. Soon after, he was gone.
Such a long journey, this life is,
and, at the end,
not nearly long enough.