Have just been writing as best one can, hopefully helpfully not clumsily, to a friend who's journeying to a deathbed. One doesn't forget – flying into the dawn to my mother's death, watching the dawn creep up with tantalizing hope. Then full sunlight spread across the clouds before descending into the grey drizzle of England – and what lay ahead.
So what can I say? What might comfort? What can assuage the mishmash of stress, exhaustion, fear and raw emotion? What would she want to hear?
That there is a grace? I remember reading a mother's account of her dying child. “Go towards the light!” And she watched him take that final journey, alone. All she could give him was a beacon: “Go towards the light.”
I do believe the light is there – I hope enfolding kindly. Near-death experiences tell of seeing family waiting. Is it wishful thinking? My cousin's wife watching her daughter die of leukaemia saw the child's face light up as she called a name in recognition – that of another child who had died a week before.
My grandmother, in and out of consciousness, told my mother, “I've been to a wonderful party. Your father (who died 30 years earlier) was there.” She died convinced she would meet him.
Another highly intelligent friend told my mother just before drying, “I nearly died last night. It was wonderful. Everything made sense.”
My friend Kitty told of the moment of her sister's passing. “The room was golden with grace.”
At this moment, nothing will make it easier, so I just say simply, “I will hold you in my heart.”