Last Breaths

Her last breaths were shallow, her face glowed in serenity
Friends had visited, her children now profoundly quiet
As we waited, recollections brought smiles to the scene
Suffering had passed, God’s grace filled the space unseen

As we recalled her seeds of goodness in this last encounter
a young doctor arrived, his eyes instantly glazed over
He noticed we surrounded our mother in her sweet tenderness
My sister asked about mom’s comfort in these last minutes

The young man perceived something more was happening
Perhaps he wanted to believe a continuum, death an awakening
The Cross above her spoke volumes, he needed to hear more
She will be with our Dad, held in heaven’s beauty forevermore

In our whispers, our little family expressed glory’s moment
He could help himself, a single tear leaked without judgment
His soul was touched, he had witnessed joy’s possibility
Reality arrived, he said it is a day’s march to inevitability

Tenderness had flowed both ways, hugs had further revealed
that the man’s career choice was reinforced, his path sealed
Our gift to him, a glimpse of eternity, rest, for his journey
His kind gift to us, that we had done everything perfectly

He had learned of a different touch, the smile on his face genuine
His own well a little deeper, filled, he could draw again from within
Love shed in that teardrop will be forever etched in my mind
A new precious memory, within this man, was Christ divine


When my mother found out that her life on earth was ending, we talked about how grateful she was for everything.  This was a key for me to use that conversation of joy from that moment on as I knew the depth of her faith.  When I visited her during her last days both my sisters were there gathered around, all of us in deep peace. A young doctor came to check in and I could tell instantly he was deeply moved by the scene.  His face lit up in joyful surprise and he simply joined in the graced moment.  I noticed him glance up at the Crucifix above my mother’s bed which allowed me in near silence to tell him my mother was going to be with her husband, a brother and sister and all the friends that had died before her.

All his training could not hold back the single tear that he let melt away.  In that moment God allowed me to witness Christ within the man.  I knew the doctor’s well had just gotten deeper, love would flow freely, this moment for him reassurance.  As he worked his way thought the little things that told him death was imminent, the little smile never left his face. My sister’s generous hug spoke a thousand words, far beyond her God Bless you. He had given us his gift, we had strengthened his.  I had no doubt that in his heart he had made the right decision; love had called him to this career.

For further reflection: Healthcare providers and Luke 8:43-48