It was the night Kenny took his last breath. My Circle of Light fellow ministers were standing by, both in our bedroom and in the hallway, silently meditating and ushering in Kenny's passing. Each in our own way knew the moment was near.
It started early in the evening, his labored breathing. I gave him some morphine and sat him up in bed a little to help him breathe better, but this didn't help much. He wasn't able to talk by this time, so I thought he had become unresponsive. I called hospice, and they told me to administer more morphine to calm his breathing and that they would send a nurse by to check on him. The nurse arrived and told me the time was near and that his labored breathing was part of the process. In my limited understanding, I asked again if he should be so uncomfortable, and the nurse, sensing my alarm, relented and told me to give him more morphine and another kind of sedative to calm him down.
Kenny spit the sedative out, and I dutifully put it back in his mouth. He gestured and moaned at this point, and I thought he was incoherent and agitated, which can happen, according to what I had read. So without questioning or even thinking much, I gave him the morphine anyway, hoping it would calm him. He bit down on the dropper, and again I just thought he was incoherent.
We both hushed a bit and fell asleep for a little while, and our Circle of Light ministers were meditating silently.
At some point, just as was predicted earlier by our spiritual director, I was called awake. I had been holding Kenny's hand, and then I put my other arm around his shoulders, came very close, and told him how much I loved him and that it was OK to let go and to go with the Traveler. In just a few seconds, he breathed his last breath.
I think I wrote about this most precious moment in a previous post, but now I have much more understanding about who it was in me that couldn't let my husband die the way he would have liked to go, for it is obvious to me now, after replaying this scene in my mind nearly every day, that all his gesturing and moaning and refusing medication was meant to ask me to please leave him alone in this his last moments on Earth, to let him breathe his last breath consciously. Yet in those moments of panic, I reacted out of a place within myself that wanted him to be comfortable. Nice thought, but not on the right page. Why not? Because I was reacting out of a limited mindset instead of responding to the signals that were present.
This scene has played itself out in my memories over and over with no resolution, only a very painful example of my own shortcomings, my lack of awareness, my shortsighted, made-up mindset about what his death should look like. I know, that's a harsh description of my own limitations, and to this day I regret not asking him ahead of time what he would have liked as he was dying. I had no clue that it would even be possible to ask, and he had no clue to offer what he would have liked, either.
We were perfectly matched in our fears of losing each other. This was definitely a characteristic of our relationship; now it's obvious as I look back over the years of his acting out in fear and my reacting in fear. There's plenty more to say about the patterns that have been revealed to me since Kenny died, but not for this post.
The most important message in this post is what I heard Kenny say today: he told me, "You gave me so much, even though you don't think so -- that the least I could do was give you a moment of peace before I left. That was the only thing I could give you, my Darling One."
Having heard this precious communication today, I was finally somewhat relieved of my burden and ready to write this post. So there's not so much blame and self-judgment left, and much more gratitude for the precious moments I experienced of Kenny's appreciation and love toward me. I cried my eyes out as I opened myself to receive his love -- nine months later. Better now than never!
And just like he said would happen, our relationship grows deeper, more loving and more intimate as I seek to reach up into the high realms to meet his Soul there. The same skills, discipline, love and letting go are required of me as those needed to experience my own Soul. Imagine our radiant forms, vibrating light, radiating love, compassion, oneness, understanding, and acceptance -- the most precious attributes of the Soul and of any relationship. Breathe in Kenny's loving. Breathe out my loving to him. That's a very peaceful and compassionate exercise. A beautiful way to reach up.
So if you (when you) hold for a loved one who is dying, ask them all the questions you can think of that would help make their experience the best it can be -- what they want it to be. I did the best I could with what I had, and you will, too. But more on that later.
I invite you to share your experiences in the comments field of this blog, ask me questions, make comments, share this blog with anyone who could benefit from our writings. Contact me by e-mail, if you wish, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about Kenny's and my story on The Huffington Post and at www.kennethhjones.wordpress.com. The blessings already are!