This week’s blog entry was written by guest author Sarah Smith. Sarah is a graduate of Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training program and a student in our advanced training. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we all know, the breath is the most important and powerful part of yoga. There are times when a breath can give us a spiritual experience, such as the first breath of a newborn, the breath that brings someone back to life from a traumatic situation, or even a powerful yoga class. And then there is the last breath…
On Dec. 15th during our 5 hr. Sunday clinic I heard the thought that my mother is passing away. Those words kept repeating all through the day and into the next day.
In the past year, my 92 yr. old mother had been experiencing a lot of dizziness, sleeping more and eating less. We could see that she was disconnecting from life a bit. In the last few months she was falling more, but never injuring herself. My 98 yr. old dad was becoming afraid to leave her alone. My sister Joan lives nearby in So. Cal.
On Friday, Dec. 13th, Mom fell, injuring her arm and head. The paramedics were called, bandaged her arm and found her head to be fine. After this incident, Joan wanted her to move into the downstairs den to make it easier on my dad to take care of her. Mom can be very resistant to change. Joan tried bringing visiting nurses in, but Mom cancelled them after one visit. She was upset that the paramedics had come.
Trying to get her to move downstairs, Joan’s husband Michael had a loving, honest talk with Mom the next day. Michael has been care taking his mom for 10 yrs. now. He explained the toll this is taking on Dad. Mom has never wanted to be a burden on anyone. After this talk she refused to eat or drink water.
On Monday, Dec. 16th, with the help of hospice Mom was moved into a hospital bed in the dining room. Joan called me that afternoon and I arrived the next morning along with my sister Beth, who lives in Issaquah. Driving to the airport I told my husband that I felt she was leaving on Thursday or Friday.
Mom didn’t want to be confined to the bed and was very agitated. She would try to get up. Hospice showed us how to administer morphine to keep her relaxed. When the morphine would wear off, she would become agitated. At those times I gave her another dose and would stroke her forehead, telling her I loved her and that she couldn’t get up, her body was too weak to safely hold her.
For two nights I slept on the couch in the living room watching over her, keeping her relaxed with morphine every two hours. She always woke up agitated and wanting to get up. At 2 am on Thurs. I sensed Mom was awake and went in to check on her. She asked me very calmly, what happened, did I fall? Yes, you fell and you are in the process of passing away, I told her. We are giving you your wish to stay in your beautiful house with only family around you. She replied, you are so kind.
Around 1 pm on Thursday, Joan laid on the couch in the living room, Dad went into the den, Beth went upstairs. I was also about to go lay down when I had a feeling. I grabbed my book and sat with Mom. 40 minutes. later I felt a shift in the room. I set my book down and watched her. After about 10 minutes her breathing changed. It was shallower and there were longer spaces between breaths. I went and told Joan, this is it. We gathered around Mom. At 2:10 pm Dad kissed Mom on her forehead and then she took her last breath. She had a little smile on her face and she was glowing. The room was vibrating with such joy and peace that we just sat there taking it all in, whispering what we were feeling and witnessing. I said that Mom is teaching us how to die. Dad said that this is exactly how he wants to go and we promised him we would give him the same experience.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!