“We all die alone.”

Someone said this to me this morning: “we all die alone” in a “boy have I an important truth to share with you, Bob” way. I smiled my “thanks for that” smile and proceeded to my destination (the coffee urn and not the urn from which no one returneth).

And then I thought, after filling my cup with coffee, OK, but just what does that mean? Is it something like: my death like my birth involves only me? But that cannot be right. Mom was there too.

When Grandma died Grandpa was there with her, holding her hand.

When Mom was in her final care home I went down from Canada to Colorado to visit. My daughter went with me. Mom looked terrible but her caring spirit was evident. A young Lutheran Pastor was there to comfort her. But he was visibly nervous and upset with his task. Mom noticed his discomfort and calmed him down by saying : “Do not worry; all is well. Thank you for coming.” She dismissed him. “You may go now. I want to talk to my family members.” She asked me to say the doxology with her. I did (surprised that I remembered it.)

Then we talked and laughed a bit – she asked about my teaching and about Margaret’s nursing work. Mom spoke about missing her own cooking. After asking how my wife was she took my hand, said “I love you and I am proud of you.” And looking at me with a twinkle in her eye, “I don’t really care about your tattoo.”

She then dismissed me and told me to get back home to my wife. I did.

Shortly after Mom died. She was 92. She was at peace. But not alone. She had a lifetime of memories – a family, a smile – a unique STORY.

5 thoughts on ““We all die alone.”

  1. That was the best of ways to go. But at that final moment, I am not sure that we aren’t all alone, even if, as in my son’s case, the last thing he probably heard was his Mom screaming, “breath Deanie, breath”. He would probably have said it was apt to go out with his Mom screaming at him. And when my sister died, she went so quietly that I had to get a mirror, I had seen it done in the movies, and put it up to her nose to see if she was alive or not. At least I wasn’t screaming at her. But somehow I think that at that final moment, we are alone, if a profound way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A question from a reader: What’s the back story on the tattoo?
    When, long ago, I came home on leave from the USMC I had a tattoo (still do!) and when Mom saw it she said, “If God wanted you to have a snake and an eagle on your arm HE would have put it there.”


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