That morning she called and offered to come and sit, to keep watch over her child while her son-in-law ran to get breakfast and a shower. They didn’t want her to be alone, not for any medical necessity but because her time was short and growing shorter—and they did not want her to die alone.
It had been a difficult journey for the entire family, one that began with a surprising diagnosis and had progressed more rapidly than they expected. There was supposed to be one last family trip, but Death had other ideas and now all they could do was wait.
As she spoke with the hospital chaplain, her daughter quietly drew her last breath. And then it was over. All the watching, all the waiting had peacefully come to an end. The doctor arrived to confirm her departure and as they spoke, she observed how appropriate it was that she should be the one who was there. After all, she brought her into this life . . . and now she had been the one present as she passed into the next.
Think about that . . .
As difficult as it may be to give birth through the physical pain, how much harder to watch as your child dies! And yet, this mother saw it as appropriate, as a privilege that is thankfully not afforded to many, but for which she was grateful. If her child had to leave this world before her, what a blessing that she could be there with her in those last moments.
As mothers and fathers it is our job to teach our children how to survive and thrive in this world. And, when Nature behaves as it should, and Death bides his time, we should leave long before our children are ever required to face their own mortality. But when the order of the world goes awry, and parents must bury their children, what a beautiful, beautiful thought. We gave them life, we were there when they entered this world, and they are truly a part of us. Despite the heartbreak and the pain and the loss that will never, never heal . . . how appropriate that those who nurtured and cherished and protected that child in life should be beside them in death.