for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Friday, June 27, 2008


Mom is breathing easily, and looks so peaceful. It's midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, and she hasn't eaten since a small breakfast Tuesday morning. She's had a few sips of water, maybe a couple of teaspoons worth, since she arrived here in hospice yesterday. The nurse told us earlier tonight that Mom was moving into the "active dying" phase, where she'll start getting kind of a rasp in her breathing. That may have been premature, because Mom looks pretty good, and in spite of some minimal coughing, she doesn't have the "death rattle" and she looks way too comfortable to be dying. That makes us so happy I can't tell you - nor do I imagine I need to.

For most of the day Mom's been sleeping and non-responsive, but she comes out for some brief moments that fill us all with such joy. She saw Courtney and lifted her arm to try to give her a hug. She puckers for a kiss, and when Brooke said, "I love you, grandma" she said, "I love you, too." I wish I could convey what an incredibly sweet and precious time these moments of alertness are for us. I hope you can imagine.

At one point she was alert long enough for me to get some people on speakerphone and say goodbye to her. Her brother Daniel came out of a business meeting to speak to Mom. Her sister Geri talked to her, and so did her friend Karen Utz, who Mom loves like a daughter. (I told her that makes her our sister. Welcome to the family!) It was such an emotional and beautiful time, and I can't imagine how anyone could not be touched deeply by it. Mom was surprisingly alert, and though she couldn't really express it, it was obvious that she knew who was calling.

Mom's sister-in-law Charlene was on speaker, and it was especially hard for her. She married Mom's brother Bob, and Mike, Mom and I were with their large family two years ago as Bob died. That was a fantastically rich and moving experience, and one that prepared all of us to such a large degree for what we're going through now. Charlene decided at the last minute to fly out with her daughter Julie to see Mom tonight. We almost tried to discourage it, thinking that Mom would be gone by the time they arrive. But they just called from San Francisco airport, and I think it's going to work out perfectly.

After Mom had a sponge bath tonight she's been laying in bed like she's a princess. Not a care in the world, relaxed and content, and I'm not making this up - she looked younger. When I asked if she was happy to be here, she said she was. I don't think you can ask for much more than that on your deathbed. And as her family that wants so much for her to be comfortable, it is truly wonderful to hear. I said, "Mom, are you OK?" "Oh, yeah," she answered. May we all be so lucky - peaceful, comfortable, relaxed, and surrounded by a loving family.

Of all the gifts we've received during this process, the one that stands out for me is this conduit tapping in a deep reservoir of love. I didn't know I could love my mother this much, and it grows by the day. Better still, it's not just the love of a son for his mother - it's just Love. Love that doesn't see an opposite, that doesn't require anything, that isn't based on an exchange. Not this Hollywood non-love love: I love you because you love me and if you stop I'll hunt you down like a dog. We're tapping into something much deeper in this temporary sacred temple of hospice. Love that doesn't recognize that there is other. Just Love. As a spiritual teacher said, the highest love is directed to none and denied to none.

I think I'm the happiest I've been in a very long time.

love, love, and Love,

Update: It's now 4 a.m., and Charlene and Julie arrived in time to see Mom. Patio recognized them, and we're having a wonderful time, reminiscing about two years ago when Bob died, and telling stories about the long history of shared Christmases and familial love. Beautiful!


At June 27, 2008 9:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love love love love love right back at you! Jeanette and I are leaving in a few hours and can't wait to be there with you.

Hold on Aunt Pat -if you want to!! Thanks Dave for making sure we feel the beauty of the moments.
Love, Liz


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