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A Final Goodbye
by Bonnie Moss (c) 2008 -05

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 
The toughest good bye is to someone who shared your life, your love, through laughter and tears, failures and victories, helps you get up when you fall, or just be there to hold your hand as you walk through life, share each moment and your dreams. Quietly at the funeral service, tears rolled down my cheeks as we were singing the hymn: Make Me a Channel of your Peace. It was a prayer that we shared especially when one of us felt angry at the world . In my heart, I knew this is the last goodbye. I watched him for many months hanging on to dear life. He had a very strong will to live. He knew his physical body was ready to give in. It was sad to see him reduced to skin and bones., but he was determined to defy death. His legs started to go weaker, at first he managed to get around with his walker.Slowly, getting up on his feet was getting more difficult. The past few months before he passed , he was bed-ridden. There were moments when he found strength to sit at the edge of the bed, wanting to get up. He was a very active person, always finding things to do around the house. Frustration was written all over his face. He can't even get out of bed on his own. Now and then, his dementia got the best of him- but this bouts did not last long. He was fully aware of his condition, and he tried his best to manage those nasty moments. It was not easy, not for him nor for me. His condition put to test how much I loved him. It broke my heart to watch him during those restless moments as the sun starts to set. This is called Sundowning, quite common among the elderly. Dementia alters a person's disposition. During these episodes, I let him ramble on. He gets restless and even says nasty things. But, it always came to pass and he is his old self once again. We both learned to ride it out till the he regained control of his wits . We talked about death and dying, he expressed his regrets over his mistakes, I'd tell him we all make mistakes.I remind him of the fulfilling career he enjoyed, how lucky he was to have caring family and friends. There were moments I'd assure him I'll be alright and I can take care of myself; if this is what's holding him back. He'd holdmy hand and tell me he is confident I'll be OK. Up to his last moments, he was able to express his thanks to me, for taking good care of him, to our family and friends who stood by his side and for the life and love we shared. I knew the end was drawing near, and when it did, I realized it was I who was not ready to let him go. Part of me died with him.

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