Monday, November 14, 2016

Soul, I Hear You Calling!

I have four songs I sing to residents when I know they're close to passing.

It's not as morbid as you think-- it began in September when my first resident passed. I really loved this person, and I felt my heart grow heavy as I learned to accept the gravity of what was going to happen while working as a caregiver; yes, I provide a means for people to live, however my position is so much more than toileting people. It is providing hugs, comfort, reassurance when someone feels lost, scared, lonely, and I help provide quality, end-of-life alternatives to a hospital.

I felt helpless the first time I watched life slip away from one of the residents; I remembered how I felt when my grandma lived with us during her last days. My Mama had spent the entire summer praying to Jesus, asking for another day with her mother, and begging that when her time did come that all four of us kids were not in the home. She didn't want our last memories of grandma to be of them taking her body away. She did not want us to ever see our grandma died.

It's weird. I had a paper route when I was 13, so I never slept over at other people's houses. I spent my summer working, and staying up all night, doing my paper route, then sleeping in all day. In between these activities I helped out with my then 2-year-old brother, Andrew, a 7 year old Devon, and hung-out with an 11 year old Amanda. Moreover, it was a summer at the hospital, and a skilled nursing facility, before finally my grandma came home to live with us in our house on 51st Street in Springfield.

The night before my grandma passed, miraculously all of us children were elsewhere. My Mama had agreed to do my paper route, and I was at my friend, Katie's, sleepover for her 13th birthday. I think my siblings were at Shannan's. We never saw my grandma's eyes gloss over, or hear her breathing become ragged as it rattled to alert that death was near.

I've watched people pass away several times now. I am not nearly as afraid of death as I use to be-- I've had haunting dreams since my biological father passed away in 2009, that have only increased after my jeje (2012) and mama's passing (2015)-- it was a reoccurring topic when I was in therapy after my pregnancy losses. And, my job has, actually really helped alleviate those dreams and that fear.

I've seen good deaths, and ugly ones. I've cried a lot, and have learned to feel peace, and gratitude as the person we say goodbye to frees themselves from this mortal coil-- their souls going on, and their bodies become part of the the Earth. They are stardust and part of this magical universe in away that I am not yet. And, as for the act of dying?

I have learned to sing in the face of that fear.

I hold that person's hand and I sing. The first time I did this, it felt so natural and right. It felt comforting for me on levels I could not understand, and the person I was singing to, seemed at peace.

And, I do this by singing the songs I have continuously sang to Violet throughout the years. They're songs that soothe a warrior to sleep, the songs that comfort me, and though I don't sing particularly well, in these precious moments where we hold hands, all there is are feelings of peace, and love-- I feel like in some small way Cash, jeje, the babies I have lost, and especially my mama knew in their hearts in their last moments how deeply they were loved. That they weren't alone.

And if I should falter
Would you open you arms out to me
We can make love not war
And live at peace with our hearts

She broke down and let me in
Made me see where I've been
Been down one time
Been down two times
I'm never going back again

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

"What's this dying for"?
Asks the Stork that soars
With the Owl high above
Canyons mighty walls
Owl said "Death's a door
That love walks through
In and out, in and out
Back and forth, back and forth"

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