• Jim Cyr

Planning for Ginny's Final Days

As Ginny’s decline continued, Mary asked her how she would like to spend her last days and hours.

When Mary asked Ginny where she wanted to be when she drew her last breath, Ginny thought for a bit and then said, “I’d like my bed placed in our sun room that overlooks the pond in the back yard. Face me toward the window so I can see the pond and the woods, the sunrise and the sunset. Open the windows so I can hear the wind in the leaves and the birds in the trees.”

“What would you like placed in the sun-room besides your bed?” asked Mary.

“Please place pictures of Bob and Michael around my bed, and pictures of my Girl Scout Troop.” Tears filled Ginny’s eyes. Mary held her hand, looked deep into Ginny’s eyes, smiled, and said, “It’s so hard to think about leaving your family behind.” Ginny nodded and Mary hugged her.

Ginny looked at Bob and Michael. “Would you both climb into bed with me and hold me when I am close to death so I won’t feel so alone?” Bob and Michael both reached for Ginny’s hands and nodded, yes.

“Would you like any music to be playing during your last hours?” asked Mary. Ginny smiled and said she’d like to listen to “Kenny G.” “His music always relaxes me.

Mary said, “You mentioned that when you die you’d like your time-line scroll draped across your body. Are there any other rituals you would like performed either before you die or immediately after you die?” Ginny said, “I don’t know. Do you have any suggestions?

“Well,” said Mary, “Sometimes the deceased person’s family washes the body in preparation for burial.

Ginny looked at Bob and Michael. They were silent. Mary could see they were both choking up. But then Bob turned to Michael and asked, “Michael, would you like to help me wash your mother’s hair, face, neck, arms and legs after she’s gone? We could do it together as our last act of love for her.” Michael asked if he could think about it. Bob said, “Sure. Take some time. We don’t have to decide today.”

Mary asked Ginny when she would like her present at Ginny’s bedside. Ginny said, “I’d like you to come for a little while each day and when I am actively dying, could you be there until I am gone?” Mary agreed.

“Bob and Michael, what do you need from me during this time?” asked Mary. Bob replied, “If you can let us know what to expect as Ginny’s time approaches that would be a big help. And if you could sit with us after Ginny is gone and talk with us about her death that might help us too.”

“I would be honored to do that,” said Mary. Mary gave Ginny, Bob, and Michael a hug and then said goodbye, promising to return in the morning.

Next, we’ll see how Mary helped Ginny, Bob and Michael during Ginny’s final hours

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