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  • Gabrielle Elise Jimenez

When those last breaths are taken...

I received a message this morning from a woman who said goodbye to her mom in the middle of the night. I was with her yesterday, and one of the things I told her, was that despite how long she has been preparing for this, when those last breaths are taken, it will feel as though she had absolutely no warning.

We sat at the bedside together as she prepared to say goodbye. These moments at the bedside are very special to me because I am gifted glimpses into the lives of the people I am providing comfort and support to, and I cherish every word. And while I am there at that moment, it could very well be the only moment I share with them, so I want to make sure I give them everything I can to help them navigate the dying process, the death and the grieiving afterwards. But nothing I say can take away the feeling of losing someone you love... despite how hard I try.

When the phone rang this morning, I didn't recognize the number so I let it go to voicemail. This was the message she left...

"Hi Gabby, I just wanted to let you know that mom took her last breath at 4:32am and you were right... when she took her last breath, it was such a shock to me, as if I had no idea it was going to happen. But I did what you said, I said "the things," I made sure she was clean and comfortable, that she felt safe and loved, and I know in my heart I was there to help make her landing softer. Thank you for being here for us."

I called her back and we had a quick conversation. I reminded her what wonderful work she did, and how well she cared for her mom. It is important that people hold that in their hearts, because that is their take-away, but it is also the take-away of the person who died.

Those last moments are the very last for them and for you, and how present you are for them is your take-away. Handing over my tools to her, allowed her to be able to do the work her mother needed most, which is what comforted them both.

When those last breaths are taken... it feels like you had no idea it was going to happen... which is a reminder to take advantage of the time you do have... even if it's those last few moments...





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