While preparing to play at a hospice in-patient facility recently, a nurse told me she had a patient who had been hanging on for days and no one could understand why. I asked if anyone was with him and she said “no one had been with him for days.” My heart sank as I felt like I understood why – He didn’t want to die alone!
I went to his bedside, introduced myself and told him that I hoped my music would bring him peace and comfort. I began playing softly and watched for his response. Within 5 minutes, his breathing slowed and I followed with the music. Soon, there were 10 – 15 second pauses between breaths and I followed with sustaining notes and chords. Deep breaths, then silence; arpeggio chords, then silence. Another breath, a minute of silence.
My new friend took one last breath and then there were no more. He had embarked on a new journey and was now home. I was privileged to share that sacred ground with him and help him find his way.
Was the timing of my visit coincidence? I think not. I have served many patients as they transition over the past ten years. Each event was unique and no two are the same. Some of us will not want to be alone when we cross the river. Others will want privacy. There is no right or wrong way to die! But for this patient, I believe we shared a divine appointment to walk those final steps together. I think someday, we will meet again!